We are pleased to share our 2021 year in review with you. You can find our complete list of 2021 reports here, and a note below from Board Chair Stacey Nelson-Kumar and Executive Director Kris Kewitsch.
Dear Council friends and supporters,
The year 2021 was certainly occasion for much reflection at Charities Review Council! We marked our 75th anniversary as well as the culmination of our latest strategic plan. As we look back and look forward at this notable time for our organization, the themes of clarity, change, and celebration arise.
We are moving forward with clarity that we must lean into our purpose as an organization, as we transition from one strategic plan to the next. Our mission guides us in what we do – building donor and nonprofit relationships for strong, vibrant, and just communities. Our purpose guides us in why we do what we do – “the fundamental reason that the organization exists in the world and how it can best steward its resources in service of that purpose” (Mission Momentum).
Taking a purpose-focused approach elevates questions like these in our upcoming strategic plan – What is our intended destination? What will it look like for donors and nonprofits when we reach our destination? What are the critical issues, fundamental challenges, and/or key opportunities we must focus on to remain successful?
Look for more to come soon as we finalize our clear, purposeful strategic plan for 2022-2025.
In 2021, we demonstrated an ongoing ability to be nimble in an ever-shifting environment. In this COVID era, change can be expected in almost all facets of life, and Charities Review Council is no exception.
The Council is undergoing its own staffing model updates, and we are confident we will identify the best structure for us following the Accountability Standards® we know so well. Facing challenges such as staffing shortages, pandemic-related strain on mental health, and calls for racial equity, we have seen that organizations that have achieved our Meets Standards® certification are better equipped for overcoming these challenges and are better positioned to achieve their mission.
While we anticipate the return of in-person programming in 2022, this past year we continued delivering virtual programming with great success. We accrued increased costs this past year related to significant improvements to our online tools, including the DEI Toolkit and Accountability Wizard®. This was an investment in the Council’s future ability to provide software products, the primary delivery vehicle for our programming, that can remain relevant and offer high-quality experiences in this shifting, digital world. In 2021, nonprofits’ renewal rate for the Accountability Wizard® was 94%, demonstrating the continued value that nonprofits find in the Council’s tools and further validating our rationale for investing in improvements to our online resources.
We are committed to continuous growth in our mission to transform philanthropy as conditions evolve in response to the pandemic, calls for racial justice, and other urgent issues. We will carry this flexible spirit into 2022.
There was much cause for celebration over the past year! We delayed our 75th anniversary event until September 1, 2022, but we pressed forward with other goals and accomplished great outcomes in our 75th year of helping nonprofits improve their governance and of helping donors ask the right questions of the organizations they wish to support. In 2021,
- 600+ nonprofits (representing over $3.75 billion in the economy) used our online resources – Accountability Wizard®, the Accountability Standards®, the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Toolkit, and the Meets Standards® Seal – to strengthen their infrastructure and demonstrate their strength and accountability to donors and funders.
- 41 organizations subscribed to our DEI toolkit, an increase of 78% from 2020. We began offering DEI Toolkit overview webinar sessions, which proved to be very popular and resulted in increasing the maximum number of attendees allowed and enabling a waitlist.
- 7000+ donors, businesses, and foundations received empowering information through our semiannual Smart Giver Newsletter, and over 30,000 constituents connected with us through the website, blog, and even more on social media.
- 1000+ individual donors reached out via phone or email for support with giving. We share information and equip donors with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about giving when they contact us with questions about donating.
We will continue to mark achievements in 2022, and we encourage you to follow along on social media as we share updates on progress toward our own goals and our partner nonprofits’ accomplishments.
We greatly appreciate your continued support of Charities Review Council. We look forward to engaging with you further as we create a culture of philanthropy where donors, funders, and nonprofits work together to strengthen their communities. By partnering with each other, we will be better positioned to identify and meet community needs and to find innovative solutions to community concerns.