I find it disappointing and at the same time extremely surprising that you void charity gift cards only 6 months after purchase. Consumers get better protections today with gift cards, which is certainly one of the lowest standards I can think of. I purchased gift cards for my daughters in the hope of educating them on charitable giving and instead the lesson might have been better titled "caveat emptor". I would encourage your Board to adopt a greater vision for your gift cards; you can do better than Home Depot. Brian Murphy
Dear Mr. Murphy, I’m sorry to learn that you’ve had a frustrating experience with the Good Card. As you may know, at Charity Navigator we rate the financial health and accountability & transparency of nearly 6,000 charities (for free) to help donors make informed giving decisions. I understand your concern with the Good Card expiration date, but this is not a program of Charity Navigator, but rather Network for Good. We simply post a link to their charitable gift cards for those that are interested in that type of giving opportunity. I recommend that you contact Network for Good directly for assistance. They will be better equipped to address your concerns regarding their Good Cards: http://www.networkforgood.org/about/contact.aspx. I hope that I’ve been able to clarify that the Good Card isn't a product of Charity Navigator. We'd greatly appreciate you reconsidering your review of our organization since your complaint wasn't with our free, trusted and objective rating service. Sincerely, ~Charity Navigator Staff
Review from CharityNavigator
This is a great site that aims to help eliminate some of the confusion that can surround attempting to find a reputable charity. It definitely fills a void, as I didn't see any other sites out there that are so professionally run, and detailed. The info listed here can be a bit overwhelming, but the site at least makes an attempt to mitigate that through tutorials and other help screens. One quick complaint though... when you go to make a donation through this site, they take you to a different site - Network for Good, where you need to use a different login. So you can setup all your charities here, but when you go to give, you will need to set them all up again on the Network for Good site.
Dear Kevin Kauffman, Thank you for your interest in Charity Navigator and for your kind words about our service! We also appreciate you taking the time to share your constructive criticism about the donation experience. We 100% agree with your concerns. And we are working with Network For Good to implement their API so that the user experience will be much improved. Once that integration is completed, the process will require just one login on our site and it will appear to be a more seamless transaction (rather than a hand-off as it stands now). We’re working to have that up and running by the end of 2012. So, stay tuned! Best wishes in all your charitable endeavors, Charity Navigator
Review from CharityNavigator
I am wondering how many of these charities have accurate financial information posted here because I noticed that Catholic Charities was rated four stars with no listed government contributions which I know for a fact is completely untrue. In addition to most of the food they give away being USDA or local food banks there are many program fees charged by them which is why courts have found that restricting adoptions on their part for any reason including sexual orientation is illegal. Wisconsin recently canceled their 32 million dollar per year contract with the Catholic church for this reason . You can find more accurate information of them in business week than on Charity Navigator and I find that pretty sorry.
Dear Jack234, Thank you for your interest in informed giving and for taking the time to write a review of Charity Navigator’s free charity rating service. One of our core values is continuous improvement and feedback from our users is integral to that process. At Charity Navigator, we’ve gone to great lengths to develop an unbiased, objective and transparent rating system that can be used to evaluate the Financial Health and Accountability & Transparency of thousands of charities. We obtain much of the data we use to rate each charity from the Form 990 (annual informational tax return). The Form 990 is completed after an outside auditor has reviewed the charity’s financial performance. The charity’s Board reviews the Form 990 before it is filed and the charity’s top executive signs off on it indicating that the data within the document is factual. The document is then submitted to the IRS (federal charity regulatory office) and also to each and every state charity regulatory office in which the charity solicits donations. We tell you all of that because if you are aware that a charity has mischaracterized their financial position on the Form 990, then you should immediately notify the regulatory agencies that have the power to investigate and prosecute criminal activities (if there have been any). However, we respectfully submit that this might be simply a case of misunderstanding. As the link you shared to BusinessWeek indicates, the Catholic Church is made up of many, many different parts. We only rate a few of its 501 c 3 public charities that are required to file the Form 990. Specifically, we rate 18 Catholic Charities (http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?keyword_list=catholic+charities&nameonly=1&Submit2=GO&bay=search.results&sortby=rtg) and their ratings range from 2-stars (needs improvement) to 4-stars. Obviously, this does not show the complete picture of the Catholic Church as ‘houses of worship’ (including the Salvation Army) are exempt from filing the Form 990. So, while a few of Catholic Charities we rate do not receive money from the government, doesn’t mean that other parts of the Catholic Church do not. In fact, only 5 (http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?keyword_list=catholic+charities&bay=search.results&EIN=&cgid=&cuid=&location=2&stid=&city=&overallrtg=&size=&ceosalary=&scopeid=&gvt=1&Submit=Submit) of the 18 Catholic Charities we rate report no government support. So, in fact, most of the Catholic Charities we rate DO receive government support. We hope that we’ve been able to address your concerns and that we’ve been able to clear up any misinterpretation of our data/ rating system. We thank you for your obvious commitment to responsible and informed giving and wish you all the best in your charitable endeavors!
Review from CharityNavigator
Another ideological left group masquerading as a charity monitor. It's evaluations are designed to favor those receiving government grants and other large gifts... principally those of the ideological left. No self-respecting conservative group would accept government funds. The group's leadership tells us something of its motives. Trent Stamp, its first president, served as congressional staff for a liberal member of Congress. Now he works for the Eisner Foundation, Michael Eisner's foundation. The former Disney CEO is about as left-wing as they come.
Charity Navigator’s rating system was designed to be completely objective and unbiased. We rate all different types of charities, we employ professional staff with all different political preferences and the subjective opinions of our staff do not enter into the equation. A charity’s political leaning makes no impact on its rating. Whether or not a charity receives government funding also has no impact on a charity’s rating. That said, we do have a top 10 list that appears on our site every few months that specifically highlights those highly rated charities that receive no government funding http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=topten. I encourage you to check out the ‘methodology’ portion of our site to better understand how we rate charities.