Funders can use information provided by the charity rating organizations listed here to help make more informed decisions about potential grantees. Of course, the information these groups provide should complement other due diligence that you conduct. Please keep in mind that these rating organizations tend to focus on nationally-known nonprofits. Also, because they serve all donors including individuals, they don’t take into account legal rules specific to private foundations. These include the rules enacted in 2006 about granting to supporting organizations. For more information, Exponent Philanthropy members see Supporting Organizations. Unless noted, all offer services for free, though registration sometimes is required or recommended.
Exponent Philanthropy also suggests checking the website of your state’s Better Business Bureau; state Bureaus differ in their criteria and approaches to rating.
Profiles charities receiving their top ratings. Other organizations are described in their print publication, Charity Rating Guide.
Distills financial data culled from Forms 990 to rate more than 1,700 nonprofits nationwide. Searchable by keyword, category, or region. Print versions of up to 20 charities available by contacting Charity Navigator at 201-818-1288.
Produces in-depth evaluative reports on nationally-soliciting nonprofits, using their standards of accountability. Evaluations are based on financial and management practices.
Posts three years of Forms 990 for all IRS-registered tax-deductible charities. This information is free with mandatory registration (no spam or junk e-mail results). More in-depth information and analysis is available by subscribing to Charity Check or the Analyst Reports. Exponent Philanthropy members receive 51% off subscriptions to Charity Check.
Maintains a database of screened and approved nationally-recognized nonprofits organized by subject. Can be especially helpful for donors interested in learning about options for giving around a particular cause.
Helps donors give, volunteer, and get involved with the issues they care about. Features a guide to award-winning charities, and links to other donor education sites.