My name is Alexandra Pierschalla, and as the Program Support Representative at Charity Navigator, I respond to queries from donors and nonprofits about the Charity Navigator website, Nonprofit Portal, and the Encompass Rating System. I also assist our programs teams with collecting website user feedback, nonprofit verifications, and Form 990 tax return data.
My professional experience includes working for nonprofits, small businesses, higher education, city government, and corporate businesses. Working at the intersection of communications and technology has led me to roles in customer support, technical support, and marketing. This diverse range of experiences has two common threads – directly helping others, and sharing information about causes or places that I feel are making a positive impact.
In August 2021, I joined Charity Navigator, however, I’ve been involved with nonprofits my entire life. My volunteer experiences include making sandwiches at a soup kitchen as a teen, sharing petitions for animal rights campaigns, leading beach cleanups, advocating for clean water and, most recently, merging my love for citizen science with art. My previous professional nonprofit roles have been with environmental and art organizations.
The nonprofit sector can offer special opportunities to expand your skills. Some nonprofits have a more fluid quality to the job descriptions or an “all hands” culture that allows you to contribute to different areas outside of your immediate department. This is especially exciting if you have a passion for learning, sharing ideas, and creative problem-solving. Each nonprofit is unique but, it has been my experience that there is often a high level of commitment to the cause and mission that creates a shared team investment in the desire for organization success.
A day at Charity Navigator is always interesting! In the morning I can go from assisting charities evaluated within our Star Rating System to helping Star-rated charities gain access to their data submission portal, to answering questions about charity ratings, and then in the afternoon, reviewing portal verifications and entering 990 data. I enjoy helping donors navigate the website as they discover new charities or check up on the ones they already support. The Tips for Donors and Hot Topics sections on the Charity Navigator website are excellent resources that I like to share.
One of my favorite things about Charity Navigator is the commitment to continuous exploration and development of the ratings methodology and systems. Ongoing research, observations, and evaluations are key activities supporting the mission of the organization: to make impactful giving easier for all. Behind the scenes, our staff and board members are actively discussing current and future giving trends while planning adjustments to bring the most effective tools to donors.
Charity Navigator provides busy donors with a central location to assess nonprofits they are interested in with the added convenience of the Giving Basket, to facilitate donations to one charity or multiple charities in one convenient checkout. The Giving Basket also allows anyone to easily assign one-time or recurring donations, as well as donations in honor or in memory of loved ones. I’ve heard directly from our donors about how helpful this is as they manage their annual giving. It’s inspiring to assist users of our site who are supporting the causes they feel passionate about.
Donors and charities (and Charity Navigator!) are working together to make a change.
Written by Alexandra Pierschalla, Program Support Representative at Charity Navigator.