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Charity Navigator, a powerful fundraising and awareness promotion platform, has equipped both nonprofits and donors with free access to data, tools, funding resources, as well as the industry’s premier trust indicator. Charity Navigator provides a ranking for nonprofits based on a nonprofit organization’s proven ability to demonstrate accountable and transparent practices and efficiently steward donations.

Charity Navigator is unifying its systems which will result in a revamped website on October 18, 2022.

What does this mean for your organization?

Unifying the existing Star and Encompass systems will create a more holistic methodology and allow organizations more engagement in the rating process and to communicate their successes.

In the new system, all charities will receive a 0–4-star rating based on the aggregate score of four assessment beacons:

  • Finance & Accountability (F&A);
  • Culture & Community (C&C);
  • Leadership & Adaptability (L&A);
  • Impact & Results (I&R).

For continuity purposes, currently rated organizations will maintain their rating during the merge. Points scored toward Encompass beacons and the underpinning star rating will transfer toward the charity’s new rating. Therefore, most organizations will see a neutral or positive impact from the initial merge.

Although annual 990’s will still drive new ratings, the number of points earned in achieving each of the four Beacons will maximize and bolster your ratings. Scored on a 100-point scale, the Beacons are not currently mandated, but are assigned relative weights.

Based on the current Star Rating System metrics, the Finance & Accountability Beacon requires the electronic submission of Form 990 to the IRS. Organizations must use the online portal to submit updates to Charity Navigator.

Designed to assess the use of constituent feedback and implementation of DEI practices, information for the Culture & Community beacon is collected on Simply visit your organization’s profile on and complete the “How We Listen” survey and the “Equity Strategies” survey, found on the 2nd section of the demographic section.

Organizations can earn the full 100 points for Leadership & Adaptability Beacon by completing the online questionnaire via the Charity Navigator portal. Drawing on a vast range of nonprofit leaders’ experiences and literature, the beacon evaluates leadership practices that allow adaptation to changing internal and external environments.  The questionnaire gathers data about organizational strategy (40%), leadership (30%), and adaptability (30%).

Finally, the most difficult and highly weighted beacon, Impact & Results, measures the organization’s results to cost ration. This beacon allows donors to compare cost effectiveness within programs. The program must comprise at least 15% of the total program cost and best represent the organizational mission. Rigorous assessment methodologies are designed program by program to develop broad benchmarks for assigning ratings. Therefore, not all organizations are eligible for scoring. If a current methodology does not exist for your program, a request can be submitted to provide a rating.

To bolster your organization’s rating before the new ratings are published:

  • Earn the Culture & Community Beacon by updating your Candid profile.
  • Earn the full 100 points toward the Leadership & Accountability Beacon by completing the online questionnaire.
  • Send your updated information via the portal for your Finance & Accountability Beacon.

Any updated information received by October 3rd will be used to generate your organization’s rating in the new system. The rating will be published on Charity Navigator’s new website October 18th.

As you gear up for your year-end giving campaign, don’t forget to check out your recent ratings on Charity Navigator. Generated on September 6th, the rankings were based on the current systems.

  • Download your rating toolkit.
  • Include the rating seal on all key documents.
  • Share your rating on social media and your website, and in supporter communications.

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