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    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. With a few exceptions, organizations must have an Impact & Measurement 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 eligibility 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).


    Four-star rating90+GreatExceeds or meets best practices and industry standards across almost all areas. Likely to be a highly-effective charity.
    Three-star rating75 - 89GoodExceeds or meets best practices and industry standards across some areas.
    Two-star rating60 - 74Needs improvementMeets or nearly meets industry standards in a few areas and underperforms most charities.
    One-star rating50 - 59PoorFails to meet industry standards in most areas and underperforms almost all charities.
    Zero star rating< 50Very poorPerforms 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.

    Charities can earn beacons by logging into the Charity Navigator Nonprofit Portal and providing the necessary data.

    Providing Guidance Through Beacons


    Our Encompass Rating System™ provides a comprehensive analysis of charity performance across four key domains, which we call "beacons." These beacons and their individual ratings can be seen for each of the charities you search. 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

    Interested in seeing our evolution over time? Read our Release Notes to stay updated on improvements made to our website, rating criteria, and methodology.

    Use Our Ratings to Guide Your Giving

    Browse by cause area and apply filters to find highly rated charities working on the causes closest to your heart.