If you're running a charity or nonprofit, one of the biggest concerns and challenges is being transparent with how you use your funds.  Not only do organizations need to strive to be honest in their use of money, but somehow communicate their nonprofit accountability to donors.  Charity Navigator can help in both of these areas.

How Charity Navigator Works
Charity Navigator evaluates nonprofits in two areas: Financial performance and accountability.  Areas of financial performance include program expenses, administrative expenses, fundraising expenses and efficiency.  They also look at revenue and expense growth.  Accountability is determined by a checklist of items including how the group is organized, whether board members vote independently, documented board minutes, financial transparency, and whether audited financial records are available.

How to Use Charity Navigator
Simply enter your organization's name into the search box on charitynavigator.com.  If your group has been rated, you will see an area of financial information and checklists.  Confirm that the information is correct, and look for areas that are incomplete. Submit any additional information to improve your rating.  At the bottom of the page you will see a list of charities performing similar work.  Choose the ones that are highly rated and visit their websites.  Look at the information they present to see how you might improve your rating.

What if My Organization is Not Listed?
If the search option doesn't bring up your nonprofit, Charity Navigator can still help you.  On the bottom of the home page, there is an area where nonprofit professionals can contact Charity Navigator.  Not only will that communicate that you are interested in being evaluated, but they will send you information on tools to measure and improve your charity's performance.

Visit the Top Ten Lists
Whether your organization has been evaluated by Charity Navigator or not, the website offers a wealth of information.  Spend some time looking at the top ten lists, which includes categories such as those organizations growing the fastest, or the ones that consistently rank the highest.  Check their reports, and look for ways you can improve your numbers and communicate your information to your donors.

One of the most challenging parts of running a nonprofit organization is not only raising money, but also using that money responsibly and efficiently.  If you would like more information on ways to improve your nonprofit, contact us.