All that we call human history–money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery–[is] the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy."
— C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)
“If you want to see some outrageous salaries of Christian non profits, go read Navigator. Look up the Christian non profits you are giving to now and see what they are paying their officers. Then go look at the latest census report for average income of a 4-person family in the US. The disparity is shocking.”
That important tip came from one of our commenters – Anonymouse — in response to yesterday’s post. Neither Dee nor I have ever heard of ‘Navigator’, so we had to check it out.
We are SO EXCITED to share what we have found about Charity Navigator, and we hope the following information will be helpful as you decide where to invest your charitable contributions.
Let’s start with this article: “Charities: Tough Times Call for Smarter Giving,” which appeared on May 24, 2009 on WSJ.com (The Wall Street Journal). Here’s the link:
The article recommends that donors “vet” their charities. Here’s the WSJ’s advice:
“Vet your charities. Choose carefully before you write a check. Web sites such as Charity Navigator.org and GuideStar.org provide information about charities' programming and finances that can help you make an educated decision.
Charity Navigator rates charities and evaluates their financial health. Its reports show how much a nonprofit spends on programming versus administrative expenses, how much it pays its executive board, and how it compares to other charities that do similar work. Charity Navigator also compiles a series of "top 10" lists of charities that fall into certain categories, including a list of organizations that are "routinely in the red."
GuideStar.org publishes information about a charity's finances and programming, including its mission statement, program description and federal tax form. Donors can search for charities and donate directly from the site. (You have to register with GuideStar, which is free, to see an organization's contact information, tax forms and leaders. A paid monthly or annual subscription is available for users seeking more advanced search tools.)”
CharityNavigator.org is an INCREDIBLE resource! Before we get into some specifics, here’s an overview we found at their website (http://www.charitynavigator.org/)
“Founded in 2001, Charity Navigator has become the nation's largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities. In our quest to help donors, our team of professional analysts has examined tens of thousands of non-profit financial documents. As a result, we know as much about the true fiscal operations of charities as anyone. We've used this knowledge to develop an unbiased, objective, numbers-based rating system to assess the financial health of over 5,000 of America's best-known charities.
Specifically, Charity Navigator's rating system examines two broad areas of a charity's financial health — how responsibly it functions day to day as well as how well positioned it is to sustain its programs over time. Each charity is then awarded an overall rating, ranging from zero to four stars. To help donors avoid becoming victims of mailing-list appeals, each charity's commitment to keeping donors' personal information confidential is assessed. The site is easily navigable by charity name, location or type of activity and also features opinion pieces by Charity Navigator experts, donation tips, and top-10 and bottom-10 lists which rank efficient and inefficient organizations in a number of categories.
Last year alone, more than four million donors used the site that TIME Magazine called "One of America's 50 Coolest Websites for 2006." Additionally, the site is a two-time Forbes award winner for "Best of the Web," was selected by Reader's Digest as one of the "100 Best Things about America," and was chosen by PC World as "One of America's Top Websites." In 2007, BusinessWeek inducted Charity Navigator into its "Philanthropy Hall of Fame" for "revolutionizing the process of giving." Charity Navigator was singled out in 2006, 2007 and 2008 by Kiplinger's Financial Magazine as "One of the Best Services to Make Life Easier" and Esquire Magazine recently told its readers that using our service was one of "41 Ways to Save the World."
Charity Navigator's leaders have provided expert analysis and commentary on the charitable sector for The Factor with Bill O'Reilly, most CNN programs, and each of the network morning shows–NBC's The Today Show, ABC's Good Morning America, and CBS's The Early Show. We have also appeared on FOX News, CNBC, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, The Newshour with Jim Lehrer, Nightline, and Comedy Central's The Daily Show, among others, and served as contributors to National Public Radio programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered. We have been profiled in Fast Company magazine, Contribute, CFO Magazine, and The Washington Post, and quoted in nearly every major American newspaper or weekly magazine. We have published editorials and articles on charity accountability, the role of government regulation in the charitable sector, fund-raising ethics, and non-profit leadership in such newspapers as The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and The Los Angeles Times.
Charity Navigator accepts no funding from the charities that we evaluate, ensuring that our ratings remain objective. Furthermore, in our commitment to help America's philanthropists of all levels make informed giving decisions, we refuse to charge our users for this trusted data. As a result, Charity Navigator, a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization itself, depends on support from individuals, corporations and foundations that believe we provide a much-needed service to America's charitable givers.”
No kidding – it really is “one of America’s coolest websites”.
There is so much valuable information at this web site that you could spend hours and hours “navigating” it.
Here is the mission of the organization:
“Charity Navigator works to guide intelligent giving. We help charitable givers make intelligent giving decisions by providing information on over five thousand charities and by evaluating the financial health of each of these charities. We ensure our evaluations are widely used by making them easy to understand and available to the public free of charge. By guiding intelligent giving, we aim to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace, in which givers and the charities they support work in tandem to overcome our nation's most persistent challenges.
Charity Navigator is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization under the Internal Revenue Code and does not accept any contributions from any charities we evaluate.”
To show you how Charity Navigators works, here’s the link to Samaritan’s Purse, which we have been discussing this week:
On this page, you will see that Samaritan’s Purse has a four-star rating (the highest possible). Then check out all of the financial information, including Franklin Graham’s compensation.
To give you an idea of how this web site can be helpful, let’s look at a comparable charity – World Vision. Here’s the link:
It, too, has a four-star rating. What’s so exciting about the information at Charity Navigators is you can compare apples to apples. For example, here’s the financial information for World Vision:
Income Statement (FYE 12/2007)
Total Functional Expenses
Payments to Affiliates
Excess (or Deficit) for the year
The President of World Vision, Richard E. Stearns, earns $376,799, which is 0.03% of expenses.
For comparison, let’s look at Samaritan’s Purse.
Income Statement (FYE 12/2007)
Total Functional Expenses
Payments to Affiliates
Excess (or Deficit) for the year
Franklin Graham, President of Samaritan’s Purse, earns $356,494, which is 0.12% of expenses. Graham also receives “Compensation from Affiliates” in the amount of $87,279. We’re not sure what this means.
You might enjoy reading about the History of Charity Navigators which can be found at this link:
This brief history ends with the following:
“We ultimately created an objective data-driven organization, with no biases, that rates more charities than any other evaluator, thus ensuring that givers from every state in the nation, with every type of charitable interest, could find a well-rated charity to support. Today, the number of charities we evaluate has grown to over five thousand and, like yesterday, our service is free, not only for the charities involved, but for the user. We hope you find Charity Navigator's service useful. That is why we are here.”
Here are a few interesting questions and answers we found on the organization’s web site
Is Charity Navigator affiliated with another organization of any kind?
No. Charity Navigator is not affiliated with any other charity in the world, so you can trust that our information is 100% objective.
How is Charity Navigator funded? A nonprofit ourselves, Charity Navigator was originally funded by the New York philanthropists, John and Marion Dugan, who believed that an unbiased charity evaluator needed to be created to help benevolent citizens make informed giving decisions. Since that 2001 funding, Charity Navigator has actively sought contributions from foundations, corporations, and individuals who think that we provide a valuable service to the American public. Click here to find out more about supporting us.
Again, Charity Navigator does not charge our users to access our rating information, nor do we charge the charities to be evaluated, ensuring that you can trust the data we deliver.
Who works for Charity Navigator? The Charity Navigator staff consists of people from a variety of professional disciplines who have come together in the belief that the philanthropic marketplace will benefit from a new level of unbiased financial analysis. Our analysts are drawn not only from the fields of education and non-profit management, but also from positions of skill within the for-profit sector.
There is so much more information we could share with you on the Charity Navigators web site, but we’ll leave that up to you to discover on your own.
We leave you with this last bit of information that we found under the heading: Top 10 Best Practices of Savvy Donors. It’s practice #7 on the list.
7. Review Executive Compensation
Sophisticated donors realize that charities need to pay their top leaders a competitive salary in order to attract and retain the kind of talent needed to run a multi-million dollar organization and produce results. But they also don't just take the CEO's compensation at face value; they benchmark it against similar-sized organizations engaged in similar work and located in the same region of the country. To help you make your own decision, Charity Navigator reveals that the average CEO's compensation of the charities we evaluate is roughly $150,000. In general, salaries tend to be higher in the northeast and at arts and education charities. Sophisticated donors also put the CEO's salary into context by examining the overall performance of the organization. They know it is better to contribute to a charity with a well-paid CEO that is meeting its goals than to support a charity with an underpaid CEO that fails to deliver on its promises.
THANKS, ANONYMOUSE, FOR SHARING AN INVALUABLE RESOURCE WITH ALL OF US!!!