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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bookmark This: Charity Navigator

There are a lot of non-profits out there that serve similar causes (even outside of the theatre realm.)
When it comes to charities, wouldn't it be nice if you could compare similar organizations to know where and how your philanthropic dollar will be spent in each?
Well, there is.
Charity Navigator is a non-profit website that analyzes thousands of charities and gives them a rating based upon growth, organizational effectiveness, and how much of their income is spent fulfilling their mission.
I use this website quite a lot myself. I used it last night in fact. I sponsor a young girl named Mamtaz in Bangladesh as part of Save the Children. I have been considering sponsoring a second child with this organization. Last night I saw a television advertisement for a similar organization called Children International.
Now, I don't wish to disparage Children International. I am sure that they do good work. However, a quick visit to Charity Navigator showed me two things very quickly: overall, CI has a 3-star rating compared to STC's 4-star rating, and Save the Children spends 10% more of its total budget on program expenses than does Children International. I will obviously look more in-depth into the information on both organizations (much of which is available on Charity Navigator) before I make my final decision, but it's nice to have that information so readily available.
Another nice feature of Charity Navigator is the search option. You can browse their database by category or by keyword.
I found this useful last holiday season when I decided to skip the malls and donate to charities in the names of my family members. My brother owns two St. Bernards and is definitely an animal advocate. My father is an outdoorsman. My sister is a believer in providing aid to Africa. Using the Charity Navigator website, I was able to find causes that spoke to each of their hearts.
(My mom required no search as she has long been an advocate of Heifer International.)
When trying to decide where to do one's charitable giving, Charity Navigator does well more than half the work for you, so I encourage you to put it in your bookmarks on your computer at home or at work.
Charity Navigator is a non-profit itself, so, if you really can't decide, you might consider donating to the site so that they can do their good work.
You might consider that anyway.

1 comment:

Joanne Reisser said...

Thanks for the plug for Charity Navigator! We really appreciate your comments about our work.