Charity Navigator updates rating system

Charity Navigator takes pride in acting as a guide for donors looking to be efficient givers. According to their mission page, the organization hopes to bring givers and charities together to work in unison to overcome the challenges for which they were established. While they have not changed their focus, they have altered the way they provide scores for rating charities. To be clear, Charity Navigator rates nonprofit organizations on a scale of 1 to 4 and that is not changing. The point system that generates the amount of stars a charity will receive is now a bit different.

What was a 70-point scale is now a 100-point scale. According to the Charity Navigator Blog, the change was made for two reasons. The first is simply to make the points easier to understand. The second allows more flexibility for future changes or enhancements to the system.

Ken Berger, president and CEO of the Glen Rock, N.J.-based organization, told the NonProfit Times that the previous scoring system caused concern and confusion.

"We've gotten feedback over the years from users who have said, 'I don't understand how (a score of) 65 gets four stars," Berger said. "This way is cleaner and leads to less confusion."

He added that the education system uses the same 100-point model, so it is already comfortable for people to approach and understand. Charity Navigator is simply swapping what would be grades for their famous star ratings. For example, 90-100 points is an A, or in this case, a four-star rating. The trend continues 80-89, 70-79, with the lowest option for receiving one star being a slightly larger margin, 56-69. Needless to say, any organization that receives 55 points or lower receives no stars.

Though Berger expects some eventual complaints, none have come through yet. The response to the new scoring system has been overwhelmingly positive.

Back to News