With the recent natural disasters and also economic recession, many people are being extra careful to make sure their donations go as far as possible. Earlier this month, BusinessWeek ran an article Philanthropy: Rethinking How to Give which did a good job exploring the many websites now available to help you do just that. Initially, most websites focused on financial factors like what percentage of donations go to administrative or fundraising expenses, whereas now many sites tackle the harder task of measuring actual impact for the dollar.
Here is a list of the links, along with a quick description of that makes them unique, as they each have a slightly different approach. What was new to me was the idea of giving to a mutual fund-like portfolio of charities focused on a specific area, like education or global health.
- CharityNavigator – Largest and well-publicized charity rating site, provides a 4-star rating based primarily on financial criteria.
- GiveWell – Tries to identify the best charities, not rate them all. Focused primarily on charities working internationally
- GreatNonProfits – Allows clients, volunteers, and funders to post personal reviews based on their experiences.
- GuideStar – Tries to be a one-stop shop for both financial data and personal reviews of charities. Must register to see a lot of things, and pay a subscription fee for premium in-depth data.
- Partners for Change – Tries to educate and direct “mass affluent” philanthropists (who donate at least $10,000 per year) towards a mutual fund-like portfolio of charities.
- Philanthropedia – Ranks non-profits based on opinions of experts, and groups them to mutual fund-like portfolios.
- Root Cause – Provides detailed “social impact research” reports to larger groups and financial advisors.