Funders and donors, with good reason, want to give to the organizations that will produce the most good-per-dollar donated.

This is where the online listing/rating services come into the picture. They provide the first, and in many cases, the only line of information being presented to potential donors. What are these sites saying about your organization?This is an important aspect of relationship-building that needs to be attended to before you submit a proposal. 

There are literally dozens of charity listing/rating watchdog services that provide IRS compliance assurance for the organizations that they list. Below are links to some of the main players, along with the role they serve. Links to a number of additional services are provided on the Center for Nonprofit Excellence website and the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS).

  • Guidestar provides a fee-based listing and information service geared toward the nonprofit and giving communities. It has gained significant visibility and market share over the past five years. Basic organization profiles and 990’s can be viewed without a fee.
  • is a review site that partners with Guidestar on which reviews can be posted by anyone having firsthand knowledge of a charity.
  • The Better Business Bureau maintains a “For Charities and Donors” site, funded by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. The BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers national charities that meet the Standards for Charity Accountability the option of applying for a BBB national charity seal. Uniquely in this sector, this site provides a platform to make an inquiry or a file complaint about a charity.
  • Charity Navigator provides ratings, tips and resources, and articles. It will accept a request for fiscal review by organizations that wish to be included on the site. Four years of 990’s must be submitted with your request.
  • Charity Watch is funded by the American Institute for Philanthropy. The site provides listings and member benefits. The site will not accept organization requests for inclusion on its site listings, which are donor driven and typically include profiles for organizations that receive more than $1 million annually from public support.
  • NOZA is a subscription-only service that is considered the largest database of charitable organizations in the world. In addition to organization profiles, Noza provides fundraising tools, grant searches, resource development training, and mailing lists for donor acquisition.

You can impact funding decisions by telling compelling stories and presenting information that clearly charts your organization’s impact in your community and your innovations in your field of endeavor. Participating in these listing projects helps providers, advocates, and policy makers all increase their visibility and access to a wide range of funders.

P.S. Did you know that there’s now a website where grant seekers can review foundations? Check out Anyone can provide an anonymous and honest review. When a foundation has five reviews, its profile goes live so everyone can see all the reviews. 

Most nonprofits struggle with getting grants and they’re tired of chasing money. It shouldn’t be this hard. So we created a process that helps them find funding, get grants, and connect to a network. This gives their organizations the money they need to make our communities strong.