Disable all preview features

How Do We Decide To Add A Charity to the CN Watchlist?


Information regarding the conduct or operations of a charity that comes to the attention of Charity Navigator is reviewed by Charity Navigator’s Donor Advisory/Watchlist Committee (the committee is made up of CN staff and/or members of the Board of Directors).  

In making a determination of whether to add a charity to the CN Watchlist, the Committee considers the reliability of the source of the information, the nature, scope, and seriousness of the charges or allegations, if proven, timeliness, and other factors it deems relevant in each instance.  

The Committee does not have the capability to independently assess the veracity or accuracy of the information, nor does it attempt to do so. The Committee views its role solely as determining whether a donor might find such information relevant in considering whether to make a contribution to the charity, or an alleged charity. 

Charity Navigator neither makes representation nor takes any position regarding the accuracy or completeness of the reports referred to in the CN Watchlist item or contained in the external links to which donors are directed. The views and opinions expressed therein are those of the authors of or sources for the reported information and not those of Charity Navigator, which is not responsible for the nature or content of the information presented through such external sources and websites. 

Issues regarding the conduct or operations of a charity that could result in adding it to the CN Watchlist may include, but are not limited to:

  • A media outlet, nonprofit expert or other third party evaluation (typically other than a governmental or criminal justice system entity) reports on a charity’s improper conduct or operations after performing its own independent investigation.
  •  Any other conduct that may affect a donor's decision to support a charity.
  • Audits that contain a qualified opinion and/or an "Emphasis of Matter Regarding Going Concern."

Charity Navigator reminds viewers of its site that it is the ultimate responsibility of donors to decide whether a particular charity is appropriate for them, and that they should take into account as many sources of information (aside from Charity Navigator) as they feel comfortable in pursuing when making a charitable gift.

Posting on CN Watchlist Does not Cause Suspension of Rating
Once the Committee determines that a charity is to be added to the CN Watchlist, the charity’s rating is not removed, but the report is posted prominently beside the charity rating. We take this approach because we believe that the issues that led to a charity's being added to the CN Watchlist do not rise to the level of a Donor Advisory but are by definition, of a nature such that they may in the near future lead to either a diminished confidence in the data upon which the rating is based or suggest that other factors beyond our current rating dimensions may eventually lead to significant concerns. Furthermore, we believe that a charity’s results are the most critical factor in selecting a charity to support and the issues identified in the CN Watchlist may reduce the charity's ability to create quality results. 

See "How Do We Decide To Remove A Charity from the CN Watchlist?" for an explanation about our process for removing CN Watchlist charities.

Join Our Mailing List

Join over 400,000 other informed givers and get updates on charity ratings, new features, hot topics, and tips for donating.