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Two objectives drive our approach to rating charities: helping donors and celebrating the work of charities. Drawing from a knowledge base of research, analysis, and constituent feedback, our team develops ratings that are both analytical and responsive to the data needs of our site users.
We only rate 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations — these are US-based organizations commonly referred to as public charities that work all around the world. Organizations must have an Impact & Results score and/or an Accountability & Finance score to be eligible for a Zero to Four-Star rating.
Our site also includes basic information on charities that don't meet our rating eligiblity criteria. Our goal is to give you as much information as possible to guide your giving decisions.
Charities can earn ratings by logging into the Charity Navigator Nonprofit Portal and providing the necessary data.
Eligible charities receive a zero to four-star star rating — this is determined by the weighted sum of the organization’s individual beacon scores (0-100).
|90+||Great||Exceeds or meets best practices and industry standards across almost all areas. Likely to be a highly-effective charity.|
|75 - 89||Good||Exceeds or meets best practices and industry standards across some areas.|
|60 - 74||Needs improvement||Meets or nearly meets industry standards in a few areas and underperforms most charities.|
|50 - 59||Poor||Fails to meet industry standards in most areas and underperforms almost all charities.|
|< 50||Very poor||Performs below industry standards and well underperforms nearly all charities.|
We recognize that not all metrics and beacons equally predict a charity’s success. The percentage each beacon contributes to the organization’s overall rating depends on the number of beacons an organization has earned.
Use the tool below to select different beacons to see how the weighting shifts when only one, two, or three beacons are earned.
Charities can earn beacons by logging into the Charity Navigator Nonprofit Portal and providing the necessary data.
Our Encompass Rating System™ provides a comprehensive analysis of charity performance across four key domains, which we call "beacons." Learn more about each beacon below.
We are continually developing new methodologies to deliver a more robust and comprehensive evaluation of charity effectiveness and efficiency. Our team not only relies on research and analysis, but also engages donors, sector leaders, charity executives, academics, and many other stakeholders to identify, develop, and validate new metrics and approaches. For more information, visit our methodology guidebook.
Browse by cause area and apply filters to find highly rated charities working on the causes closest to your heart.