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Charity Navigator

The Mercury News

January 8, 2005

What you'll find: Ratings of the financial efficiency of about 3,500 charities. Based on the charities' filings with the IRS, Charity Navigator evaluates how much money they spend on fundraising and administration, for example, and compares them to similar groups. The site has started including information about charities' donor privacy policies.

Who pays for it: Charity Navigator is itself a non-profit, funded primarily by a grant from New York philanthropists. It's free to access information on the site, though features require registration.

Keep in mind: Charity Navigator covers relatively few charities. However, a spokeswoman said the site adds more charities each month, and it concentrates on the largest ones. In addition, Charity Navigator's method for assessing charities' finances is controversial. Some in the non-profit community say the ratings fail to capture the complexity of some non-profits' operations.

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