Having accurate information to make wise giving decisions has never been more important. And that’s central to the mission of CharityWatch, an independent watchdog organization that does in-depth analysis of nonprofits so donors can give confidently to organizations where their gifts will have the greatest impact.
Launched in 1992 as the American Institute of Philanthropy, the founder, Daniel Borochoff, saw a tremendous need for an independent monitor to oversee charitable giving due to a lack of publicly available information at that time.
Located in Chicago since 2002, CharityWatch educates the public about charitable giving by regularly updating its reports for over 600 nonprofit organizations in its rating system; every year it adds about fifteen new charities. CharityWatch also publishes articles on its website; they along with its ratings and reports on top-rated charities are freely available to view.
And what makes Charity Watch’s ratings incredibly valuable is the detailed and thorough analysis of financial statements that goes into each one. In fact, Congress has called upon CharityWatch multiple times for expert testimony regarding the nonprofit sector and charitable giving.
So you can have confidence that gifts you make to CharityWatch’s top-rated nonprofits will support mission-related work and not fraud or wrongdoing.
Because its independence is essential, CharityWatch is funded primarily by small contributions from individual donors. One way you can support CharityWatch is to join as a member for $50 annually, which provides full access to content on its website as well as two issues of its bi-annual paper publication, the Charity Rating Guide & Watchdog Report.
And if you happen to work for a company or foundation, you can join as an organizational member. The suggested donation level is $500; however, contributions in any amount are greatly appreciated.
Along with rating nonprofits, CharityWatch frequently partners with investigative journalists and helps them research wrongdoing in the nonprofit sector. Staff speak regularly with media such as the New York Times, Newsweek, CNN, and the Associated Press.
CharityWatch partnered with 60 Minutes on a high profile collaboration that exposed the financial improprieties of Greg Mortenson, author of “Three Cups of Tea and Pennies for Charity.”
North Branch Works is a proud neighbor of CharityWatch in the Green Exchange and thrilled to welcome them as our newest member. We highly recommend reaching out to CharityWatch if your business wants to review its charitable giving.
Staff is also exploring the possibility of providing technical assistance services to companies related to their giving programs. Stay tuned for future partnership opportunities.
Laurie Styron is the Executive Director of CharityWatch, taking over from the founder who retired in February 2020.
With questions and to connect with CharityWatch, please reach out here.