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New Rating for Church World Service

We are happy to let you know that based upon the most recent financial information and the new two dimensional rating system (CN 2.0), Charity Navigator has just issued a new rating for Church World Service of 4-star.

The rating focuses on fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency.  The sources of the information for the rating are the IRS Form 990 for the period ending June 30, 2011 and information available to all constituents on the CWS website.

The purpose of the Charity Navigator rating system is to provide donors with information needed to assist them in evaluating their giving options and to have more confidence as they make charitable choices.

We are excited about the 4-star rating.  In a recent communication from Charity Navigator to CWS congratulating us on the 4-star rating this year, they shared that “receiving four of a possible four stars indicates that CWS adheres to good governance and other best practices that minimize the change of unethical activities and consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way”

In responding to questions related to the Charity Navigator 4-star rating from donors and other constituents, we would share the following as additional information to assist in that process.

  1. The 4-star rating is the overall rating for CWS which is reviewed annually after filing the IRS Form 990.

  2. There are currently two dimensions to the rating system:  Fiscal Management for which our current rating is a high 3-star and Accountability and Transparency for which our current rating is a high 4-star.

  3. The major changes from the previous rating to the current overall 4-star rating relates to the financial aspect of the rating which improved from a 2-star to a 3-star.

  4. There are two component parts of the financial rating, financial efficiency and financial capacity.  In both areas CWS improved in the last fiscal year which positively impacted the rating.

  5. In particular, the financial efficiency rating improved to a 4-star with fund raising expenses being less than 10% and fund raising efficiency of $0.09.  The financial capacity rating improved to a 3-star due primarily to the average annual growth over the last three years in revenue and program expense.

  6. The Accountability and Transparency rating of a high 4-star indicates that all things required from a good governance and best practices perspective are accounted for in the annual IRS Form 990 and that the CWS website includes readily accessible information about finances, governance, and policy.

  7. The donor privacy policy on the CWS website is an opt-out policy as is the same for most charitable organizations. That is the one item noted under the Accountability and Transparency rating for which CWS did not receive the highest rating which is again similar to most organizations.

  8. Charity Navigator will be implementing a third dimension to their rating system related to outcomes.  We will share more information as that is available.

If you want to find more information on the 4-star rating for CWS, please visit the Charity Navigator site at The new rating was uploaded to the site this week.  For future reference, it will be approximately the same time next year that the updated rating information will be available.

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