American Institute of Philanthropy
Hot Topics in Charity News!Top-Rated CharitiesA-Z Charity ListingAIP's Criteria for Rating CharitiesTips for Giving WiselyFrequently Asked QuestionsArticles from the Charity Rating Guide

Mission Statement, Goals and MoreCharity Rating Guide and Watchdog ReportLinks to Charity Registration & Financial InformationPraise for AIP's AccomplishmentsJoin AIP and Get the Guide for Free!Contact the AIPReturn to the Home Page
Frequently Asked Questions
Important Inquiries

What is CharityWatch?
Why do I need CharityWatch?
Won’t a charity provide me with all the information I need to make an informed giving decision?
Why is the CharityWatch Charity Rating Guide an indispensable tool for informed donors?
How can I join CharityWatch?
Who funds CharityWatch?
Does CharityWatch sell, rent, or exchange its membership list with other organizations or businesses?
How does CharityWatch decide which organizations to cover in the Charity Rating Guide?
Why doesn't CharityWatch make all of its information freely available on the Internet?
How do I obtain a username and passcode to login to the CharityWatch website?


Q. What is CharityWatch?
A. CharityWatch, formerly known as American Institute of Philanthropy, is a nonprofit charity watchdog and information service.

Q. Why do I need CharityWatch?
A. Because your charitable dollars are too precious to waste on organizations that do not spend your money wisely. CharityWatch is not afraid to take a strong stand about the practices of specific charities and provide information that some charities would rather not disclose. CharityWatch carefully reviews each charity’s financial records, cross checking information from state and federal government filings. The financial picture we provide is often quite different from other sources of charity information that are less stringent, or simply repeat information reported by the charity in its tax form, rather than conducting a thorough and independent review. CharityWatch provides you with the important knowledge that will help you make funding decisions with greater confidence.

Q. Won’t a charity provide me with all the information I need to make an informed giving decision?
A. A charity that wants your donation has little incentive to criticize itself. They may choose not to reveal true but unflattering information about themselves. Also, the financial information that charities are willing to make easily available to donors is often unclear and incomplete. You need an independent watchdog who can objectively analyze a charity’s finances and management practices.

Q. Why is the CharityWatch Charity Rating Guide an indispensable tool for informed donors?
A. The Charity Rating Guide gives a letter grade rating and other statistics on the financial performance of approximately 600 major American charities in 36 different categories, including Environment, Cancer, Crime Prevention, Child Protection, Senior Citizens, and more. Rather than simply repeating information gleaned from tax filings or offered by the charities themselves, CharityWatch conducts in-depth analyses of audited financial statements, annual reports, IRS Form 990 filings and other data to give you a clear picture of how a charitable organization actually uses its funding. The Guide provides information on the percentage of funds each charity spends on its charitable purpose, its cost to raise $100, whether it holds massive asset reserves, and an overall grade from “A+” to “F.” Before you send a donation to a specific group, you can now consider how well they spend your dollars by referring to the CharityWatch Charity Rating Guide.

Q. How can I join CharityWatch?
A. Individual membership is available for a donation of $50 per year and corporate membership is available for a donation of $250 per year. Additional contributions in any amount are appreciated, and help to further our charity watchdog information services. CharityWatch membership lasts one year and includes the printed and online version of the Charity Rating Guide & Watchdog Report.

Q. Who funds CharityWatch?
A. CharityWatch is funded by the public—not special interests, advertisers, charities or associations. CharityWatch depends on the support of individuals like you for memberships and contributions. Donations are tax-deductible as permitted by law.

Q. Does CharityWatch sell, rent, or exchange its membership list with other organizations or businesses?
A. CharityWatch has never sold, rented or exchanged its membership list and has no plans to do so.

Q. How does CharityWatch decide which organizations to cover in the Charity Rating Guide?
A. At CharityWatch we focus on quality over quantity. The in-depth level of analysis we perform as part of our charity evaluations is time-intensive and does limit the number of groups we are able to review. Currently, CharityWatch rates approximately 600 charities. We generally focus on evaluating large charities that receive $1 million or more of public support annually and that are of interest to donors nationally. As a charity watchdog organization, our charity selection process is donor-driven. We strive to cover many of the groups that CharityWatch members are most interested in. CharityWatch does not accept requests from charities that ask to be rated, nor do we charge charities to be listed in our Guide or for the right to publicize our findings. CharityWatch does not report on churches, synagogues, mosques, political action committees (PAC's), fraternal clubs, colleges, or local institutions such as hospitals and museums. CharityWatch does report on the separate human and social welfare organizations of religious groups.

Q. Why doesn't CharityWatch make all of its information freely available on the Internet?
A. We fund our in-depth research on charities from modest membership contributions. We feel that this is a very small price to pay to receive objective and independent ratings that are untarnished by special interests. We are a nonprofit organization with over 95% of our revenue coming from individual membership contributions. We do not receive government or large private foundation grants, nor do we accept any advertising whatsoever. We also do not charge the charities we rate to be listed in our Guide or charge charities for the right to publicize our findings. Relying on small contributions from the public allows us to be fiercely independent, which is critical for any watchdog organization. We hope that the Guide will help you with your charitable giving decisions and that you will receive future issues, a benefit of CharityWatch Membership.





























 
Top of Page
Hot Topics | Top-Rated | A–Z Listing | Criteria | Tips | FAQ | Articles
About | Rating Guide | Links | Praise | Membership | Contact | Home
© 1995-2014 The American Institute of Philanthropy
Last Update: January 16, 2014