Why Should You Use Charity Navigator Before Donating?

According to the annual report published by the Giving USA Foundation on U.S. philanthropy, Americans had contributed over $471 billion in charitable donations in 2020. This generous financial support has been of immense help to those who have been continuously working voluntarily to bring drastic improvements in the fields of education, health care, arts, environmental protection, poverty, and others. 

Unfortunately, charity fraud has become one of the major challenges plaguing the non-profit sector today. Faux fundraising and scams have become more prevalent, with sham charities accruing huge funds from the public by mimicking the real scenario and reaching you via different modes – like a genuine reputable charity

In 2017, The National Center for Disaster Fraud received over 400 complaints of charity scams after natural disasters Hurricanes Irma and Harvey had struck. And this number has almost doubled in recent times, given the COVID-19 pandemic crisis globally. So, if you want to ensure that your money is going to the right hands and utilized for the right purpose, doing thorough research is a must.         

How Can a Charity Navigator Help? 

Before you donate for a cause, it is crucial to investigate whether the charity is worth your financial support or it is a scam. To prevent fraud, use Charity Navigator to evaluate a charity’s transparency, financial health, and accountability practices. Their ratings and valuable tips will help you determine whether the charity is trustworthy or a scam. 

Charity Navigator is America’s most reliable and largest charity evaluator, trusted by thousands of philanthropists for their giving. They follow a comprehensive methodology to evaluate and rate various charities, assisting you in “intelligent giving.” There are two ways charities are rated by Charity Navigator: 

  • Financial Health: The assessment of a charity’s financial health is based on the information it provides in the IRS Form 990. Using this data, Charity Navigator will analyze the financial performance of a charity in seven different areas. The tool helps evaluate the charity’s financial capacity and efficiency and how it is related to the primary cause of the charity. The final score is determined by combining scores the charity gets on a scale of 0-10 against each of seven KPIs. 
  • Accountability & Transparency: A charity’s Accountability & Transparency is evaluated based on two sources – information gathered by reviewing the charity’s website and information provided on Form 990. Charity Navigator uses this data to score the charitable organization on 17 unique performance metrics. The objective is to assess whether it follows industry best practices in terms of ethics and governance and whether it provides critical information easily accessible to the patrons. 

Based on these two dimensions, Charity Navigator uses a unique formula to attribute a score to the charity. The “Overall Rating” of a charity is given by assessing the “Overall Score,” helping you determine whether you should support the charity or not. You can refer to the following chart to understand what do Charity Navigator ratings mean: 

They provide an easy Charity Search process online, which further makes it hassle-free for you to learn whether the charitable organization is credible or not. In addition to Charity Navigator ratings, they also provide expert advice that will help you make an informed decision. According to them, talking directly to the organization will help you better understand their motto, programs, and goals. So, before you donate, ask these simple questions: 

  • What mission drives your charitable organization? 
  • What are the goals or the cause you are supporting through this charitable program? 
  • Did you make any progress in achieving the goals? 
  • Can you provide sources or details about your organization that can help instill trust and confidence in you?  

If they are struggling to answer the questions, donating to the charity is a big no-no. Rather, look for organizations that are confident, have good reviews, and are powered by Charity Navigator ratings. 

What Next?

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