Charity Navigator is an independent, non-profit organization that evaluates American charities. Its stated goal is "to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace by evaluating the financial health of America's largest charities."
Charity Navigator was launched on April 15, 2002, with the mission of helping "donors make informed giving decisions and enabling well-run charities to demonstrate their commitment to proper stewardship" of donor dollars. Initially, Charity Navigator provided financial ratings for 1,100 charities. Charity Navigator currently evaluates more than 5,400 charities in the United States in addition to hundreds of organizations with international operations.
The site also features opinion pieces (articles and two blog sites) by Charity Navigator experts, donation tips, and top-10 and bottom-10 lists that rank efficient and inefficient organizations in a number of categories. Annually, Charity Navigator conducts a national study to determine and analyze any statistical differences that may exist in the financial practices of charities located in different metropolitan markets across America.
The service is free, and the site is navigable by charity name, location or type of activity. Charity Navigator is a 501(c)(3) organization that accepts no advertising or donations from the organizations it evaluates.
In 2006 Time magazine named it in one of the 50 top websites of the year. In 2011, Kiplinger's Personal Finance selected Charity Navigator as a Money Management Innovation for "helping millions of people become philanthropists," putting it in the same category as Mint.com, TurboTax and Mobile Banking Apps.