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Charity Rating Review & Appeal Process

When Charity Navigator rates an organization, each nonprofit has access to several resources to best serve any questions or issues they might have about Charity Navigator’s rating procedure, rating review, and rating appeal processes. Nonprofit organizations may contact Charity Navigator analysts to answer specific questions by logging into the Charity Navigator’s charity representative portal and contacting their assigned analyst or by sending an email to info@charitynavigator.org. Every nonprofit rated by Charity Navigator is assigned an analyst who oversees the evaluations of specific charities organized by cause area. Charity Navigator’s evaluation procedures includes a Rating Review and Appeal Process that can be initiated by a rated organization. Please note, this process is currently reserved only for charities with CN 2.1 star ratings. 
Review Process:
In order for the Review Process to be initiated, charities raise a question with their analyst, which is then reviewed by the appropriate analyst and at least one additional senior member of the analyst team. This review by two members of the Charity Navigator team is to get several perspectives on the matter at hand, in order to best serve the charity. Collectively, the analysts and the charity work towards a prompt resolution.  Most cases are usually resolved during this Review Process. The cases that are not resolved through the review process then move into the Appeal Process.  
Appeal Process:
The Appeal Process begins when the charity’s Registered Representative submits a written appeals form accessible through the Charity Portal on the Charity Navigator website. Included in this submission are the charity’s detailed explanation for their appeal and an acknowledgement by the charity’s CEO confirming the initiation of a Charity Navigator Rating Appeal. Confirmation of receipt of Appeal Request is sent to the inquiring charity within one business day. 
Charity Navigator’s Senior Analyst team and Vice President of Program Analyst Operations review the issues presented, and within two weeks, send a response to the charity’s Appeal. In this correspondence, Charity Navigator either provides a final resolution of the Appeal or a notification that additional time or input is needed, in addition to an updated time frame.  
Requests of Appeal at this point, are reviewed by three members of Charity Navigator’s External Appeal Panel (list of members below). These independent reviewers provide their expert opinion and suggest a specific action, in regards to the appeal. This independent panel is provided the charity’s appeal form, a summary of correspondence related to the Appeal, and any additional pertinent documents or reports. A response from the independent appeal panel is usually provided within three weeks of the panel receiving the appeal documentation.
Appeal Process Resolutions:
Charities are notified via email with the results of the rating review & appeal process. This email includes a written explanation of the external appeal panel’s findings and rationale.
If Charity Navigator along with the external panel determines that no rating change is to occur, the charity's rating published by Charity Navigator will not change. 
If the finding is that the charity’s rating should be changed, a revised rating will be posted by Charity Navigator within 30 days.
In some circumstances, the finding may be that Charity Navigator’s methodology should be revised, so as to accommodate the circumstances presented in the appeal. In these cases, six to twelve months may be required for Charity Navigator to initiate, test, and publish new rating methodology. During this time, the appealing charity and Charity Navigator may mutually agree to continue to publish the currently posted rating or publish no rating at all until the updated rating methodology is complete.
Charity Navigator's External Appeal Panel Members: 
  • Todd Polyniak, Sax LLP
  • Mary Soper, Jitasa
  • Janet Gibbs, Mission Accomplished
  • Jesse Lecy, Arizona State
  • Pete Miragliotta, Maast Associates

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