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How to Give Wisely This Holiday Season

Posted in Featured Post on November 14th, 2012 by | No comments.

Fresh off a successful Groupon Grassroots campaign, Charity Navigator gives you tips for effective donating on #GivingTuesday and throughout the year.

Guest post by Sandra Miniutti, VP of Marketing and CFO of Charity Navigator

I’ve been at Charity Navigator, America’s largest and most utilized charity rating service, since it launched in 2002. During those 10 years, I’ve had the privilege to participate in a lot of firsts, but one of my favorites came just last month when we participated in our first national Groupon Grassroots campaign.

In keeping with what we’re all about at Charity Navigator, I’d like to give Groupon’s blog readers some quick tips to ensure that their donations always go to charities that are efficient, ethical, and effective. These tips are especially relevant as we move into the traditional charitable giving season—Thanksgiving to New Year’s—when charities collect as much as 50% of their annual contributions.

  1. Check the Charity’s Financial Health
    When organizations are financially healthy—meaning that they operate efficiently and sustainably—they have greater flexibility and freedom to pursue their goals. Charity Navigator’s ratings include an evaluation of each charity’s financial performance.
  2. Review the Charity’s Commitment to Accountability and Transparency
    Generally speaking, charities that follow good governance practices are less likely to engage in unethical or irresponsible activities, such as misusing donations. Our ratings include an assessment of each charity’s accountability and transparency practices.
  3. Assess the Charity’s Results Reporting
    You can learn about a charity’s results by reviewing its website and/or talking with its staff. These resources should reveal the quality and depth of the organization’s results, as well as the charity’s capacity to continue to get these results. This is a critical step—after all, the charity’s ability to bring about long-lasting and meaningful change is likely the key reason for your donation.

These tips are also available in this easy-to-share video. Send it to your friends and family so they can donate wisely this holiday season!

As for our Groupon Grassroots campaign, we were blown away by the response. Initially, we were concerned that it would be a real challenge to hit the tipping point of 100 donations. Though our service ultimately helps great charities generate the funds they need to carry out worthy missions, we don’t work directly to cure sick children, feed the hungry, or ensure that abandoned dogs find new homes.

But Groupon’s subscribers instinctively understood what we’re all about, and within a day we passed the tipping point and went on to reach more than 350 contributions, providing enough funding for us to rate six additional charities this year. That will bring the total number of charities rated by us to 6,006. We are so appreciative of all the donors who jumped on this deal and used their hard–earned dollars to show just how much they value our expert analysis of charities.

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About Sandra Miniutti: Sandra has been with Charity Navigator since the summer of 2002. Originally a program analyst, she is now responsible for managing Charity Navigator’s finances and all aspects of its brand. She regularly appears as a nonprofit-sector commenter on in print and on TV and radio. Ms. Miniutti holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in marine science and biology from the University of Miami and an MBA in finance and marketing from Rutgers University.

About Charity Navigator: Charity Navigator rates the Financial Health and Accountability & Transparency of thousands of charities and provides its evaluations for free to help donors make informed giving decisions.

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