Tribune Print Share Text

Give wisely

Websites that provide information on charitable organizations

Created date

February 21st, 2014
charitable giving
charitable giving

There is no shortage of charitable groups vying for your support. Whether it’s a letter in your mailbox, a telephone call, or a knock on your door, solicitations on behalf of worthy causes are a daily occurrence.   

While there are many organizations seeking your donation, not all charitable groups are equal. Some groups spend a high percentage of their collected funds on operating costs, overhead, and outside consultants. Others spend relatively little on those types of expenses, so most, if not all, of the money you give goes directly to the cause. 

The way a nonprofit operates—how the organization spends its donated funds says a great deal about its integrity. Thanks to the Internet, checking to see how a charity operates and how it disperses its funds is now easier than ever. 

“Today’s donors want to see evidence of charity accountability—strong governance, public access to basic information, including how they spend their money, and periodic self-evaluation of the organization’s impact,” says Art Taylor, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance. “Many charities have shown us that, after the issues are brought to their attention, they have been able to take steps to meet these standards.”

The BBB Wise Giving Alliance is one of a handful of sites that can provide consumers with valuable information about charities. Here’s a short list of sites to help you confidently navigate your charitable giving. 

BBB Wise Giving Alliance

The BBB Wise Giving Alliance (WGA) is the leading charity monitoring and assessment organization in the U.S. Using a rigorous set of 20 guidelines, BBB WGA publishes over 1,000 comprehensive reports on charities which are accessible online to anyone.

Charity Navigator

Founded in 2001, Charity Navigator has become the nation’s largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities. They analyze and examine tens of thousands of nonprofit financial documents and give scores and ratings based on their analysis.

... American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) started CharityWatch, which is a nationally prominent charity rating and evaluation service dedicated to helping donors make informed giving decisions. Ratings are similar to letter grades with an A being superior and an F signifying failure.


Give Well conducts in-depth research to determine how much good a given program accomplishes (in terms of lives saved, lives improved, etc.) per dollar spent. Rather than try to rate as many charities as possible, they focus on a few charities that stand out in order to find and confidently recommend the best giving opportunities possible.