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Webinar Recording: Ask Charity Navigator's CEO Anything

February 1, 2016


In this hour long webinar, Charity Navigator's President & CEO, Michael Thatcher, answered questions submitted by our site users. The discussion covered trends in philanthropy, tips for making informed giving decisions, an overview or our evolving rating system and much more.

Here are a few of the questions that were addressed during the webinar.

How can I find charities that support the troops/ veterans?
First, you can do a keyword search on terms like military, veterans or troops.  Second, you can check out our Hot Topic called Support Veterans and Active Duty Service members. This curated list includes charities that help the military, their families and veterans so that you can find a good one to support and avoid the bad apples. 

Do the charities pay to be rated?
Charity Navigator is very much user supported. In fact, we do not, nor have we ever, taken money from the charities that we rate.  We don’t charge them to be rated and we don’t charge them to use our 4-star logos. As such, you can be sure our ratings are 100% objective.

How can I determine which level of compensation is ok and which is too much?
Our data shows that among the charities we've evaluated (those being mid to large-sized charities), the typical CEO's annual compensation is in the low to mid six figures. And the level of compensation will vary based on the location of the charity, its mission and its size.

Before you make any judgments about salaries, we encourage you to keep in mind that the charities we rate are complex organizations, with multi-million dollar budgets, hundreds of employees, and thousands of constituents. It is important to consider that it takes a certain level of professionalism to effectively run a charity and charities must offer a competitive salary if they want to attract and retain that level of leadership. We believe you are better off investing in a high-performing charity that pays its CEO somewhat above the median figure for similar charities, than supporting an under-performing charity whose CEO doesn’t take a salary.

For additional information, please take a look at Charity Navigator's CEO Compensation study.

Do you think it is more effective to give more money to one charity vs. to several of a similar type, e.g. cancer charities?                 
When it comes to financial investments, diversification is the key to reducing risk. The opposite is true for philanthropic investments. If you've really taken the time to identify a well-run charity that is engaged in a cause that you are passionate about, you should then feel confident in giving it a donation. Spreading your money among multiple organizations not only results in your mail box filling up with more appeals, it also diminishes the possibility of any of those groups bringing about substantive change as each charity is spending part of your gift on processing expenses for that gift.

Why shouldn’t I give directly to a charity and by-pass the fees charged by the Giving Basket?
Keep in mind that online contributions are one of the cheapest ways for nonprofits to receive donations; they are often less expensive than both checks by mail and credit card contributions made over the phone. Typically, when you donate directly to a charity they don’t make a point of explaining their processing costs (either credit card fees or staff resources to process checks). Network for Good, the processor that powers the Giving Basket, is being completely transparent about their fees.
But you can always give directly to your favorite charities and by-pass the Giving Basket. To make that easier for you we include a link to each rated charity’s website so you can quickly navigate to their site and give.

Got a question that wasn't addressed in this webinar? We'd be happy to answer it! Just give us a call or send us an email.

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