Find The Best Charities: Best Charity Comparison Websites

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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.
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  1. This is fantastic. Thank you so much. I’ve only ever used Charity Navigator and am happy to learn about the others.

  2. cloudsandskye says

    You missed the Better Business Bureau:

  3. cloudsandskye says

    Here’s a better BBB link:

  4. I would not list the BB. They have been caught taking money from people and then giving them good reviews just for taking their money. I no longer have any faith or interest in the Better business bureau.
    From Wikipedia
    “Because of its requirement that businesses pay dues and tribute, this has engendered complaints that the BBB compiles scores based upon their ability to collect money from businesses, and not upon business performance.”

  5. I’d highly recommend GiveWell as a great charity navigator. They are the most concerned of anyone I’ve seen with finding the most effective intervention (often based on randomised controlled trials), and then the best charities doing that. For instance, their current highest rated charity, The Against Malaria Foundation, distributes long-lasting insecticide treated bed nets for about $5 each, which prevent malaria (a lot more effective than trying to treat it!).

    Another great charity evaluator is Giving What We Can, which is quite similar to GiveWell, but differ in a few epistemic questions.

    Animal Charity Evaluators looks at different interventions that might be most effective in preventing animal suffering.

    Lastly, I’ve also written up a few heuristics for making sure you get the greatest change for your dollar here. This is no where near as good as the above, but a bit more concise and provides more of a conceptual overview.
    Effective charities 101: What are the best charities in Australia and how do you choose?

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