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President and CEO's Report for October 2013

October 7, 2013


Overhead Revisited, CN 3.0 Takes Off, Buffet Family Takes Notice, Site Improves







There has been quite a bit of chatter these past couple of months within the nonprofit sector regarding overhead. It began with a TED talk by Dan Pallotta that has now gotten over 2 million views. For my take on Dan’s views (beyond the picture above), check out an article that Dr. Penna and I recently published in the Huffington Post. We also joined with Guidestar and the BBB Wise Giving Alliance back in June to publish a letter reflecting our collective views on the overhead question.  I also wrote my own blog on the subject, like the one I wrote when we had signed on to a similar effort back in 2009. However, this time the nonprofit world has paid much more attention. I had a further opportunity to explain our views on overhead recently on Nonprofit Radio. The bottom line is this, we believe strongly that overhead is an important indicator of charity performance, but that it should not be the sole or primary focus when making a charitable giving decision. Our work on CN 2.0 and now CN 3.0 reflects that belief.

Speaking of CN 3.0, the philanthropic community is also beginning to sit up and take notice of it! CN 3.0 was the subject of a front page article in the most recent print edition of the Chronicle of Philanthropy. They offered nearly three pages of information about our effort as well as a breakdown of how one charity with a results reporting evaluation (ROCA) fared. The Chronicle also hosted a detailed  webinar with us and the CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. We are so grateful to all of you who have donated to us as we continue to scale up our work on CN 3.0. We also want to thank both the Hewlett Foundation for our fourth year of their support and the William T. Morris Foundation for doubling their support to us this year. We could not be meeting our goals without all of your help!

Meanwhile, we are also busy at work on a number of other efforts to continuously improve our services to you. Firstly, we have begun to upgrade our home page with less clutter and more drop down menus to make it easier for you to navigate. We also have improved the unrated charities search engine so you can now search by both state and cause area for all 1.6 million US registered nonprofits. In addition, we have added a new tab on charity report pages for those that have a video interview with their CEO (here is an example) thanks to a collaboration with the GivingLibrary. We also are proud to announce that our recently created A.P.I. is now up and running for a number of partner sites (Kind Cards is an example) and it has been expanded to include unrated organizations' data too.

We recently were blown away when we learned from our newest employee, Taylor Duffy, that Charity Navigator is recommended as a good resource in a Buffet family sponsored course on philanthropy! And, if you missed it, we were interviewed as an expert resource in a story on charity fraud on NBC Dateline.

In conclusion, it has been a heck of a couple of months! Meanwhile, as we enter the holiday giving season, the additional site improvements we're implementing during this busy time, along with some other things we're involved in, will far surpass what I've just told you about. We're excited and know you will be, too!

All the best,

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