Don’t just Donate: Investigate

Charity Navigator, America’s premiere independent charity evaluator, has deepened and strengthened its scrutiny of charities. This site simply wants to help donors make better informed donations. In trying to do this it doesn’t pull its punches as its sections, for example, on 10 Charities overpaying their for-profit fundraisers or 10 Charities routinely in the red, bear witness. “In these difficult economic times,” it says, “you want assurances, more than ever, that the charities you support are efficient and accountable.”

Until recently it had based its judgments simply on the financial aspects of registered charities, subjecting their policies and practices to scrutiny and analysis before making a public assessment of their financial health. Its findings brought a single rating based on a numerical score of up to 70 and leading to an award of up to 4 stars.

The new system goes much further. Driven by the realization that people need to know about more than money alone if they are to make a true judgment on the worth or otherwise of organizations which they might wish to support, the system now includes an assessment of each registered charity’s Transparency and Accountability. Judgments use the same 4 star and numerical rating system, with 70 points as the highest possible score.

The introduction of this extra element, of “raising the bar”, as Charity Navigator puts it, has had dramatic results. For example, half of the nearly 5,500 charities examined have received new ratings and the total number of 4 star holders has decreased by some 20%.

CCF has always seen openness with its supporters, be they donors, sponsors or others, as crucial. We rely on the kindness of others and the willingness of good people in many countries and circumstances to give their money to help CCF help the children, families and communities it cares for and about. But it is sometimes hard to know if CCF’s policies and procedures, its ways of doing business, are seen objectively as the right anvd the best ways to operate.

So how did CCF fare under this intensified scrutiny? Not only did CCF’s approaches clear the new Accountability and Transparency bar but they did so with a perfect score for the category – the full 70 points. CCF thus not only retains its overall 4Star rating but it does so with scores higher than such august organizations as Save the Children and World Vision.

If you’d like to see CCF’s scores in detail (and how we compare with some of the significantly larger and more established charities!) go to www.charitynavigator.org. Just type Cambodian Children’s Fund in the Charity Search box at the top of the page and it will take you straight to our entry. We hope you find it interesting.

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