Non-Profit Evaluation: Comparing Money Distribution to Expenses and Fundraising Efforts

Non-profit organizations play a crucial role in society, providing services and support in areas where the government and private sector may fall short. However, with the increasing number of non-profit organizations, it’s essential for donors to understand how these organizations use their funds. This includes comparing the money they distribute to their expenses and fundraising efforts. Several organizations rate non-profits based on these factors, providing transparency and accountability in the sector.

Understanding Non-Profit Evaluation

Non-profit evaluation involves assessing the financial health, accountability, and transparency of non-profit organizations. This includes analyzing how much money they distribute versus their expenses and how much they raise. The goal is to ensure that the majority of the funds raised go directly to the cause the non-profit supports, rather than administrative costs or fundraising efforts.

Organizations That Rate Non-Profits

Several organizations provide ratings and evaluations of non-profits based on their financial health, accountability, and transparency. These include:

  • Charity Navigator: This is one of the most well-known non-profit evaluators. They provide a rating based on financial health, accountability, and transparency, which includes an analysis of how funds are distributed versus expenses and fundraising efforts.
  • GuideStar: GuideStar provides detailed information about non-profit organizations, including their financials, mission, legitimacy, impact, reputation, governance, ethics, and more. They also offer a Seal of Transparency for non-profits that provide open and comprehensive information about their operations.
  • GiveWell: GiveWell conducts in-depth research to determine how much good a given program accomplishes per dollar spent. They focus on the cost-effectiveness of the most outstanding charities.

Why Non-Profit Evaluation is Important

Non-profit evaluation is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it provides transparency, allowing donors to see exactly where their money is going and how it’s being used. This can increase trust and confidence in non-profit organizations, encouraging more donations. Secondly, it holds non-profits accountable, ensuring they’re using their funds effectively and efficiently to achieve their mission. Lastly, it can help non-profits improve their operations by identifying areas where they can reduce costs or increase impact.


In conclusion, non-profit evaluation is a vital tool for ensuring transparency and accountability in the non-profit sector. Organizations like Charity Navigator, GuideStar, and GiveWell provide valuable information that can help donors make informed decisions about where to donate. By comparing the money non-profits distribute to their expenses and fundraising efforts, these organizations help ensure that donations are being used effectively and efficiently to make a real difference.