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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. 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).


Rating Score Assessment Description
Four-star rating 90+ Great Exceeds or meets best practices and industry standards across almost all areas. Likely to be a highly-effective charity.
Three-star rating 75 - 89 Good Exceeds or meets best practices and industry standards across some areas.
Two-star rating 60 - 74 Needs improvement Meets or nearly meets industry standards in a few areas and underperforms most charities.
One-star rating 50 - 59 Poor Fails to meet industry standards in most areas and underperforms almost all charities.
Zero star rating < 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.

Providing Guidance Through Beacons


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

  • Charity employees with material goods
    Impact & Results
    Find out how much benefit the charity’s program(s) achieve relative to the cost required to run it.
  • Charity employees with chart and computer
    Accountability & Finance
    Find out if the charity is accountable, transparent, and financially efficient and sustainable.
  • Charity employees in conference room
    Leadership & Adaptability
    Find out if the charity has the leadership capacity, strategic plan, and ability to adapt or respond to changing circumstances in order to better achieve its mission.
  • Charity employees with hands together
    Culture & Community
    Find out if the charity implements practices that strengthen its overall organizational health and is responsive to its beneficiaries.

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.