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President and CEO's Report for May 2014

May 6, 2014


Challenges & Opportunities After Hewlett Foundation Support And More

This past March, it was announced that the Hewlett Foundation is moving on to other funding priorities and will discontinue the “Nonprofit Marketplace Initiative.” Charity Navigator has been a grantee of this program for the past four years. The Chronicle of Philanthropy wrote an article reporting on this that gave some people the impression that Hewlett considered the effort a failure. However, a Letter to the Editor from the new President of Hewlett makes it clear that Hewlett still sees the efforts of groups like Charity Navigator as important and leaves the door open for future support. We are deeply grateful to the Hewlett Foundation for its four years of support of our work on CN 3.0. The total funding they provided was by far the largest foundation support we have EVER received in our history and it was invaluable in helping research and implement CN 3.0. Normally a foundation will support an undertaking for up to three years, so we were not expecting additional funding anyway. We also have developed a strategic and business plan that assumed that, for long term sustainability, we could not rely upon foundation support. Foundation support is good for “seed” money and early stage projects, but not for the long haul. Some wondered if the ending of this funding threatens our viability. The answer is, not in the slightest. The bottom line is that our bottom line remains solid. Our core funding remains what it has been for the past five years, private contributions that predominantly come from the voluntary donations of our users.

That is not to say that we don’t need more support! In fact, if we are going to achieve our goal of rating 10,000 charities on CN 3.0 by the end of 2016, we will need to almost double our staff and budget. However, foundation support is not now or will it ever be the bedrock of sustaining our work at either current or future levels. We rely on a core group of dedicated individual supporters that use Charity Navigator and see its critical value as a guide to intelligent giving. I hope you will keep that in mind in the coming weeks as we send out our Spring appeal letters. If you are a current supporter, we are asking you to consider increasing your support so we can take our effort to the next level and rate more charities in greater depth. If you are not currently one of our supporters, you will not get one of those letters. In your case, we ask that you please go to the donate page on our site and donate now! Our future plans rest in your hands and generosity. If you would like some evidence of our results before you consider donating, please have a look at our results reporting here. Also, feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about our finances, governance or results!

Meanwhile, we continue to grow and thrive. As evidence of that growth, it is my pleasure to introduce two staff who joined our Analyst team during the month of April - Sarah Kim and Marwah Masarani. They will help us achieve our goals of rating 1,000 new charities in 2014 (in addition to the 7,000 already on the site!) as well as 1,200 evaluated on Results Reporting (in addition to the 600 from last year). Welcome aboard!

All the best,

P.S. As a reminder, I have recently become something called a “LinkedIn Influencer”; please add me to your network here and get my latest articles and posts on the charitable sector.

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