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Charity Navigator Leads Way

New Jersey Business Magazine

July 1, 2002

Business & Industry

Historically, New Jersey has been a leader in philanthropy.  Helping those who assist in charitable donations is a new Web site providing a comprehensive analysis of non-profir organizations with detailed information, at no charge, to help them evaluate organizations worthy of their donations.  Charity Navigator, founded just last year, is a Mahwah-based not-for-profit organization.

By logging on to their independent Web site, www.charitynavigator.org., those interested in donating to a specific organization can research numerous charities of related interest.  More than 1,100 searchable organizations are rated in a wide variety of comparative categories.  Charity Navigator, the organization, began operations in April 2001, while the Web site is just three months old.  "We're new, but we distinguish ourselves," says Trent Stamp, executive director.  "We want to provide the most objective information on charitable organizations for those who use our site."  Charity Navigator has rated information on many charitable organizations such as the Sierra Club, Fresh Air Fund, Boys & Girls Club of America and the American Red Cross.

Charities help many causes of environmental and human interest.  Some charities are not well intentioned or well managed, as was the unfortunate case with a few organizations who accepted donations during the September 11 tragedies.  The money intended to help families of 9/11 victims didn't go to the families.  Charity Navigator provides unbiased, trusted, analytical information on the charities potential philanthropists are considering supporting.

Since Charity Navigator is fairly new, Stamp says his firm was unable to assist donations to September 11, as Charity Navigator was still gathering ratings and information at that time.  "People all across the nation wanted to help, but most gave to the organizations they heard about or saw on television, " Stamp says.  "What Charity Navigator does is help those who want to donate, but want to make sure it is the right organization to which to give."

There are some organizations that rate charities, but use highly subjective criteria, which is open to interpretation and bias.  Charity Navigator provides a completely objective system in which to search. 

"We fall in between other similar rating organizations," Stamp says, adding, "Some are objective--but charge a fee, and some are not objective and free.  We are objective and we do not charge a fee."

Charity Navigator is a 501 (c)(3) organization under the Internal Revenue Code and does not receive contributions from any charities that are evaluated.  The group plans on expanding its reviewable number of charities.

Reprinted courtesy of New Jersey Business, the magazine of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association.  (http://www.njbmagazine.com)

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