Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Link of the Week: Charity Navigator

We all would like to contribute what we can to charities and social action organizations that we feel are making a positive difference in our world. But identifying the best and most financially efficient organizations can be a challenge.

One website that can be useful in deciding where to put your charitable dollars is Charity Navigator which claims that it "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."

Although Charity Navigator is itself a non-profit, it accepts no donations from the organizations it provides ratings for.

You can search your favorite charity right from the search box on the opening screen, or you can browse through an A-Z list, or look only at their 4-Star Charities, which you can further filter by type of charity, state, or other criteria. Other site features include various Top Ten Lists including negative ones like 10 Charities Drowning in Administrative Costs.

The articles here are also interesting. One recent one was entitled "March Madness." It reminds us that "college coaches are paid by either your tax dollars (in the case of state schools) or your tax-deductible private charitable contributions (in the case of private schools). " The article then details exactly how much some of these coaches are being paid....Would you believe salaries as high as $1,655,819 a year?!

Charity Navigator is but one of several websites that helps us hold charities accountable and helps givers identify worthy groups. For more links, take a look at our Nonprofit and Philanthropic Organization Resource Guide, which is one of a large number of research guides the librarians at Sawyer Library have created.

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