15 Ways to Ensure Your Donated Dollars Will Make a Difference

Pointers and tools that help you donate your money with passion and confidence.

doctors without borders photoPhoto (cc) by UNMEER

CharityWatch rates nonprofits

CharityWatch, unlike Guidestar, interprets the information available on nonprofits and uses it to grade them, A through F, for potential donors. The group says it reviews IRS filings and audited financial statements to rank 599 charities.

More than 200 nonprofits on its top-rated list, it says, generally spend 75 percent or more of their budgets on programs, spend $25 or less to raise $100 in public support, and do not hold excessive assets in reserve. The watchdog group also looks at governance benchmarks and “open-book” status for disclosure of basic financial information.

Earning an A rating from CharityWatch, for example, is Doctors without Borders, which sends more than 30,000 doctors, nurses and other qualified professionals to provide medical humanitarian emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, natural disasters and exclusion from health care. The group spends 87 percent of its budget on programs and only $12 to raise $100, CharityWatch says.


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