With disease, famine, war, and natural disasters creating a need for charitable support globally, there may be an inclination to take your giving beyond your community and your country. This is a noble instinct and one you should act on! You should approach donating internationally using the same rigorous research you would apply to nonprofits registered here in the U.S. The news from media outlets and your peers may recommend specific international organizations addressing global crises. If you are a regular Charity Navigator user, you may be discouraged to learn that Charity Navigator does not rate these charities. Don’t let this be a hindrance. There are ways to give responsibly.
Why Doesn’t Charity Navigator Rate International Organizations?
Charity Navigator rates only registered tax-exempt 501(c)3 organizations. Charities incorporated in other countries are not subjected to the same rules and requirements applied to U.S.-registered and have their reporting systems. Charity Navigator uses publicly available data about charitable organizations, including the Form 990, to build our ratings. For this reason, only U.S. organizations are eligible for ratings. Learn more about Charity Navigator’s rating methodology.
How Can I Support International Causes with Confidence?
Don’t worry! If you rely on Charity Navigator ratings to guide your giving, you still have options for donating to support international issues.
Fund highly rated 501(c)3s working internationally
Just because you can’t find international organizations registered in other countries on Charity Navigator to support directly doesn’t mean you can’t find rated charities doing great work overseas. Charity Navigator rates many U.S.-based organizations that work internationally. You can search on Charity Navigator, or reference our Give Now Lists (like this one for Ukraine relief).
Do your due diligence
If you are motivated to donate directly to an organization based in another country, you can vet the organization personally or with the help of others. Charity Navigator’s rating methodology can offer you a starting point to identify factors to consider. Remember that you may have difficulty finding the equivalent information about international charities. If you can’t or do not want to do the leg work yourself, find other organizations doing the vetting and piggyback on their efforts. Funding nonprofits often list their vetting criteria and grant recipients, including international charities, on their websites. If they don’t, you can reach out to them directly (e.g., Center for Disaster Philanthropy and GlobalGiving). If you find an international charity recommended by one (or, ideally, several) other organizations that you trust, it is likely a safe place to donate.
Doing good internationally comes with unique challenges and with great rewards in impact. Remember, give with your heart but also give with your head. Do your research, and don’t let barriers keep you from doing good around the world!