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Charity Navigator: Operation 5000

Trent Stamp, President and Executive Director, Charity Navigator

December 7, 2005


Less than four years after launching our site to help American donors make informed giving decisions, Charity Navigator's president takes a few moments to celebrate the accomplishment and offer a few thanks to those who made it happen.

In the spring of 2002, we launched the website www.charitynavigator.org, with data-driven ratings of 1115 of America's largest charities. At the time, no one had ever attempted to evaluate, in any fashion, more than 500 organizations.

Today, less than four years later, Charity Navigator is proud to announce the addition of our 5000th charity, Child Abuse Prevention Center. And still, no one else does more than 500. We are the unquestioned leader in our field. Esquire magazine writes this month that "visiting Charity Navigator is one of the ways to improve the world."

In the days after Hurricane Katrina, more than 50,000 visitors a day came to our site, eager to help those that were affected, but not sure how. Conservative estimates are that $25 million was given by those who visited our site, most of it to the Red Cross.

In total, more than 3 million charitable donors will use Charity Navigator this year, and they will give a couple of billion dollars. This gives me great pride, as I know that most of these users will pick reputable, efficient, and effective charities, and as a result, our work will greatly improve the lives of many who need it.

I don't know which came first--that people came to our site or the mainstream media adopted us--but they are clearly linked now. In the past week, we've appeared on MSNBC, sat down with Geraldo, talked with NPR, informed the Associated Press, been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, and chatted with the New York Times Editorial Board. Tomorrow, we'll be featured on ABC's PrimeTime Live, at 10 PM.

It is an unfortunate reality of American society that I, the leader of this organization, receive much of the attention that surrounds Charity Navigator. And it is, of course, not warranted. I am merely the public face for what we do. Accordingly, I'd like to briefly thank those who've really made Charity Navigator into, as both Mother Jones and PC World magazines wrote recently, "the Consumer Reports of the Non-Profit World."

  • John and Marion Dugan, the founders of Charity Navigator, who had the vision that donors to the non-profit sector would embrace such a service, and the courage to fund it. They demanded only that we build the best possible product, beholden to no one, and that we not flinch in our integrity or quest for accountability when the inevitable criticism came from charities angry about our presence.
  • The staff of Charity Navigator, who were willing to come on board this endeavor, to give their professional lives to the relatively Byzantine field of 'charity evaluation.' You have done the seemingly impossible, that of doing an impassionate job with great passion, and I am grateful. As are a ton of American donors - people you'll never meet - who have relied upon your investigative and analytical skills to reward charities that do good work and help our most at-risk citizens.
  • And of course, those donors nationwide, who have encouraged us with their usage of our site, have recommended us to their friends and families, and have told their favorite charities that they're giving (or not giving) this year because of the organization's Charity Navigator rating. We come to work every day because we think you deserve some unbiased data from a third-party source you can trust to help you make informed giving decisions.

As we celebrate a remarkable philanthropic year and our role in that, our attention slowly turns to 2006. We have ambitious expansion plans that we hope to share with you soon. But for now, we stop to look back at how far we have come, and thank all of you for your role in our journey.

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If even a third of the 7 million people who visited our site last year had donated a dollar to Charity Navigator, we would comfortably meet our annual budget and be able to do what so many of you ask us to do every day--rate more charities!

With the support of users like you, we are currently investing in staff and technology. This will allow us to improve the search and organizational features of our site, making it easier to find the information that matters most to you. We will also continue to enhance our evaluation system and metrics.

So, whether you're a first time visitor or a long time user, we ask for your help in achieving our goal. Your gift of any size is most deeply appreciated! Thank You!

With the support of users like you, we are making it easier to find the info that matters most. Thank you!

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