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Nonprofit FAQs
Top ten FAQs from Nonprofits
Top ten FAQs from Nonprofits

Fast answers to common questions

Updated over a week ago
  • How can my nonprofit get listed and/or rated on the Charity Navigator website?

We automatically list all nonprofit organizations that are registered with the IRS in the United States; there is no action required by the charity. We receive information directly from the IRS Business Master File (BMF). It may take several months for the BMF to be updated with new organizations. However, once your organization is listed on the BMF, it will be automatically added to our site within 2-3 months.

To be eligible for the Accountability & Finance Beacon, a nonprofit needs to be a 501(c)(3) that e-filed their last 3 Form 990s (the standard 990 not a 990EZ, 990PF or 990N). We receive this initial 990 data directly from the IRS.

To earn the Impact & Measurement beacon, the organization must self submit impact and program expense data via our Nonprofit Portal. In some cases, organizations are rated on impact if they have a rating provided to Charity Navigator via a third party.

For each other beacon, the criteria are different and will depend on the nonprofit providing data to us through the Nonprofit Portal or to Guidestar/Candid.

  • How do I find out who my Charity Navigator portal representative is and/or change my nonprofit’s, official representative?

We now allow for multiple representatives for each nonprofit. Anyone in your organization can get access to our Nonprofit Portal. To apply for an account and receive access, go to - To ensure continuity, we recommend that a full-time employee from your organization take on this role.

  • How did my charity receive this rating?

We evaluate charities that are registered with the IRS under section 501 (c)(3) of the tax code (all donations are fully tax-deductible), e-file three years of the standard IRS Form 990, and provide us with other data points about their organization. Please visit the Methodology section of our site to read an in-depth explanation of our rating system.

  • When will my charity’s rating be updated?

We are continually collecting data from nonprofits directly, the IRS, and our data partners but we update published ratings on our site multiple times each year. We normally have a preview period before ratings go live on the website so that the nonprofits can see their expected new rating in the Nonprofit Portal.

  • We do have an Accountability and Finance beacon policy that your website says we do not have. How can we update that?

Most of those metrics for the Accountability & Finance beacon are based on what was reported by the nonprofit on the most recent 990 we are evaluating. So, in most cases, we will need to await receipt of a newer 990 to update the rating accordingly. Please visit the Methodology section of our site for a detailed explanation of the metrics and their criteria.

  • How can we update our nonprofit’s general information (name, mission, address, website URL)?

Once verified, nonprofit representatives have access to the nonprofit portal, where they can update and submit information. We receive the initial nonprofit information directly from the IRS Business Master File and the latest available IRS Form 990.

  • How can we supply you with a newer Form 990?

We receive large batches of IRS Forms 990 data from the IRS directly on a regular basis. This data is always prioritized. If you still would like to provide a 990 directly to us, we have an option within the Nonprofit Portal where nonprofits can submit a newer Form 990 to us directly. To submit your information, please go to and follow the provided instructions under Accountability & Finance. Uploaded 990s should be processed within 4-6 months.

  • What is the Nonprofit Portal, and how does it work?

The Nonprofit Portal allows a staff member of any listed nonprofit access to their organizational account so that they can provide data and view other information in regards to their Charity Navigator listing and rating. To apply for an account and receive access, go to -

  • Where can I find a Charity Navigator badge to use to promote our rating?

We offer a toolkit for nonprofits who have received a three or four-star overall rating from us. The toolkit is available for access via the Nonprofit Portal The toolkit can be used to promote your Charity Navigator rating.

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