If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you probably know already that Craig Newmark is a big fan of Charity Navigator. Charity Navigator exists to guide intelligent giving. We do that by providing free access to ratings of the 5,500 large- and mid-size charities that receive roughly half of all private contributions (excluding houses of worship which do not file an annual informational report to the IRS – called a 990 form) made in the US each year. Last year alone, over 3 million users visited our website nearly 5 million times, giving Charity Navigator influence over somewhere between $5 and $10 billion of charitable donations. While this makes us far and away the largest and most utilized charity rating service that exists anywhere, it currently influences no more than 5% of the roughly $200 billion donated annually in America.
Last year, Charity Navigator went to Craig Newmark for help to remedy that problem. We recognized that the online world was changing and that we could have more influence if our expert analysis was readily accessible on other platforms and applications. We put our heads together, with Craig, and determined that an API (Application Programming Interface) would lower barriers to and expand the reach of our data. Wanting to see more givers make smarter choices, thereby driving increased social investment capital to higher performing nonprofits, Craig agreed to fund the creation of the API.
Today, we're excited to announce that our API is complete and out of a successful period of Beta testing. The API allows developers to find vetted charities based on keyword, category, location, regions served, inclusion in Charity Navigator’s popular 10 lists, and a variety of other data points. This initial offering provides an open database of information on 5,500 charities of all types, in all regions of our country, and whose work impacts all corners of the globe. In fact, this API is the largest data-set of the Financial Health and Accountability & Transparency of US charities. But within the next few years, the tool will be expanded further to include ratings on 10,000 charities (which garner about 70% of all private contributions made in the US each year) as well as, at least, basic information
Charity Navigator already receives a robust level of requests for our API from donor advised funds, philanthropic advisors to entrepreneurs looking to give back as their businesses grow as well as websites of all kinds that have a charity donation portal. We offer two levels of access to the API, a premium service for established organizations that are looking for a fully customizable tool and a free version (subject to volume usage fees) that is perfect for start-ups. Go now to the API page on Charity Navigator’s website to learn more about the API’s features and to register for access to the tool.on every US-based nonprofit (that is 1.5 million organizations!).
Guest blog post by Ken Berger, President & CEO of Charity Navigator.