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Comparison of Intelligent Philanthropy, Guidestar, and Charity Navigator. Guidestar and Charity Navigator have 50% of Intelligent Philanthropy's charity health and performance data, and it is sourced from outdated IRS data. Intelligent Philanthropy is more up-to-date, comprehensive, focused on effectiveness, and user-friendly. See below.

 

FEATURES

Intelligent Philanthropy

Guidestar*

Charity Navigator

Pricing Strategy

Free basic profiles or $59 annual subscription for complete data

Free basic profiles or $1,500 annual ($250 monthly) subscription for complete data

FREE with ads and donate requests

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
3 - 4 year old Financials
1 1/2 - 2 year old Financials
Complete Independent Financial Audits?
audits available for download
Program, Admin & Fundraising Expenses
Current Budget
 
 
Current Debt Level
 
 
Current Cash Reserves
 
 
FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY
Revenue & Expense Growth Rate
3-Year Annual Income Trend
 
3-Year Number of Donors Trend
 
 
Donor Retention Rate
 
 
Number of Donors Listed By Gift Size
 
 
ACCOUNTABILITY
Governance Policies copied from 990
 
 
Download Form 990s
 
Form 990 Posted on Charity Website
 
IRS Registration information
 
$750 subscription
Annual Report Posted on Charity Website
 Sometimes
 
Written Financial Controls
 
 
Perform Annual CEO Evaluation
 
 
LEADERSHIP
CEO Name
CEO Compensation
Board Chairperson
Names of Board Members
 
 
Number of Board Members
 
Number of Board Committees & Meetings
 
 
Annual Budget % Funded by Board
 
 
Number of Staff
 
Number of Volunteers
 
 
Staff Retention Rate
 
 
3-Year Staff Size Trend
 
STRATEGY
Mission Statement
Statement of Problem Addressed
 
 Sometimes
Statement of Solutions Provided
Sometimes
 Sometimes
List of Key Partners
 
 
List of Nonprofit Peer Group
 
1-5 Year Plan with Milestones
 Sometimes
 
Recent Program Improvement
 
 
S.W.O.T. Self-Analysis
 
 
IMPACT
Program Results Statement
Sometimes
 
3-Year People Served Growth %
 
 
3-Year Key Program Activity Growth %
 
 
Exemplary Project Description
 Sometimes
 
Use of Key Performance Indicators
 Sometimes
 
Outcomes Measured against Benchmarks
 Sometimes
 
Independent Evaluation of Programs
 
 
Survey of Beneficiaries about Programs
 
 
WEBSITE FUNCTIONALITY
Nonprofit Contact Info & EIN
Nonprofit Website Links
Nonprofits in Searchable Database
500
2.2 million
1.6 million
Ad-Free Website
 
Integrated Third-Party Reviews
 
 ✔ 
Donation Processing
 
Search by Keyword, Name, or Location
Search by Topic
 Limited
Limited
Search by People or Nations Served
 
 
Search by Nonprofit Leader
Advanced Search for Registered Users
 
 
Easy to print information
1 or 2 page printable summaries
 
 
Color-enhanced Declining Trends in Red
 
 
Add nonprofits in 30-60 days of request
if 990 available
 
* Guidestar's "Financial Scan" features are not included above since they require a $2,500 subscription. Complete nonprofit data can be purchased at Guidestar for $125 per report or $1,500 per annual subscription.
 
Intelligent Philanthropy  vs.  Guidestar  vs.  Charity Navigator
 
How does Intelligent Philanthropy compare to Guidestar and Charity Navigator? Great question. Although Excellence In Giving appreciates the contribution of both platforms to the goal of funding effective and efficient nonprofits, we needed more than reformatted or rated IRS data for making informed giving decisions. Since Excellence in Giving advises clients on over $20 million of grants every year, we require up-to-date, comprehensive information focused on effectiveness. Excellence in Giving needs current financials, leadership structures and performance trend lines for impact and sustainability. Excellence in Giving needs deeper insight into organizational strengths and weaknesses and strategy. That is why we created Intelligent Philanthropy. 
 
Finances
Guidestar and Charity Navigator essentially reformat IRS financial data from 1 to 2-year old Form 990s whereas Intelligent Philanthropy provides you up-to-date financials including a current year budget and 3-year growth trends. Using Guidestar or Charity Navigator to make decisions about your giving would be the equivalent of making investment decisions based on 2-year old annual reports.  No investor would do that.
 

FEATURES

Intelligent Philanthropy

Guidestar

Charity Navigator

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
3 - 4 year old Financials
 ✔ 
1 1/2 - 2 year old Financials
Independent Financial Audit
audits available for download
Program, Admin & Fundraising Expenses
 ✔ 
Current Budget
 Sometimes
 
 
Current Debt Level
 Sometimes
 
 
Current Cash Reserves
 Sometimes
 
 
FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY
Revenue & Expense Growth Rate
 
3-Year Annual Income Trend
 
 
3-Year Number of Donors Trend
 
 
Donor Retention Rate
 
 
Number of Donors Listed By Gift Size
 
 
 
Leadership & Accountability
Guidestar and Charity Navigator provide a few more IRS data points from outdated Form 990s, but only Intelligent Philanthropy lets you know if a charity has written financial controls to limit spending and mismanagement and a CEO evaluation to monitor performance against goals. All 3 charity evaluators name the board chairperson and CEO, but only Intelligent Philanthropy lists the number of board committees and annual meetings for you to determine how engaged board members are. Only Intelligent Philanthropy provides the number of staff and volunteers, the 3-year staff growth rate and the annual staff turnover rate for you to determine the consistency of program leadership and leveraged impact through volunteers.
 

FEATURES

Intelligent Philanthropy

Guidestar

Charity Navigator

ACCOUNTABILITY
Governance Policies copied from 990
 
 
Download Form 990s
 
Form 990 Posted on Charity Website
 
IRS Registration information
 
$750 Premium
Annual Report Posted on Charity Website
 Sometimes
Written Financial Controls
 
 
Perform Annual CEO Evaluation
 
 
LEADERSHIP
CEO Name
CEO Compensation
Board Chairperson
Number of Board Members
 
Number of Board Committees & Meetings
 
 
Annual Budget % Funded by Board
 
 
Number of Staff
 
 
Number of Volunteers
 
 
Staff Retention Rate
 
 
3-Year Staff Size Trend
 
 
Strategy & Impact
Charity Navigator plans to integrate a judgment of impact measurement practices into the ratings by 2016 and is currently adding that data to charity profiles. Sometimes Guidestar has an impact statement with a link to nonprofit information at ChartingImpact.org. In both cases you don't get a consistent snapshot of a charity's best project, recent program improvement or the growth rate for people served and program activities. Apart from the mission statement all platforms provide, only Intelligent Philanthropy guarantees a Program Results statement, a checklist of “best practices” in program outcomes measurement maintained by the charity and a summary of strategic future plans.
 

FEATURES

Intelligent Philanthropy

Guidestar

Charity Navigator

STRATEGY
Mission Statement
Statement of Problem Addressed
 
 Sometimes  
Statement of Solutions Provided
 Sometimes
 Sometimes  
List of Key Partners
 
 
List of Nonprofit Peer Group
 
1-5 Year Plan with Milestones
 Sometimes
 
Recent Program Improvement
 
 
S.W.O.T. Self-Analysis
 
 
IMPACT
Program Results Statement
Sometimes
 
3-Year People Served Trend
 
 
3-Year Key Program Activity Trend
 
 
Exemplary Project Description
 Sometimes
 
Use of Key Performance Indicators
 Sometimes
 
Outcomes Measured against Benchmarks
 Sometimes
 
Independent Evaluation of Programs
 
 
Survey of Beneficiaries about Programs
 
 
 
Functionality
Intelligent Philanthropy is more functional and user-friendly than either Guidestar or Charity Navigator.  All information fits in an easy-to-save and print 2-page PDF or 1-page charity performance profile summary. When you click on Guidestar’s “printer friendly" button, the document exceeds 2 pages with a number of empty information slots. You get a template that stretches out over 5, 10 or even 20 pages with contact information and IRS techno-jargon on top of the first page and prefabricated sections that are mostly blank or require a $1,500 premium membership to access throughout the remainder.
 
In contrast, Intelligent Philanthropy’s nonprofit Analytical Overviews summarize all 175 data points in 2 pages for ease of printing and viewing.  In the financial and growth trend sections, nonprofit Analytical Overviews even highlight declining trends and budget shortfalls in red font. In a glance, you can tell where the organization is in decline and how many of the last 3 years they have ended in the red.
 

FEATURES

Intelligent Philanthropy

Guidestar

Charity Navigator

WEBSITE FUNCTIONALITY
Nonprofit Contact Info & EIN
Nonprofit Website Links
Nonprofits in Searchable Database
500
2.2 million
1.6 million
Ad-Free Website
 
Integrated Third-Party Reviews
 
Donation Processing
 
Search by Keyword, Name, or Location
Search by Topic
Limited
Limited
Search by People or Nations Served
 
 
Search by Nonprofit Leader
Advanced Search for Registered Users
 
 
Easy to print information
1- or 2-page printable summaries
Color-enhanced Declining Trends in Red
 
 
Add nonprofits in 30-60 days of request
when 990 available
 
The Intelligent Philanthropy search capabilities make it a superior user experience. Using the search sidebar, you can explore the database of charities by topic of interest, by nations served, by type of people served, by HQ location in the USA, by organization name, or by the name of an organization's leader. This exceeds the advanced search capabilities of Guidestar, which only include searches by keyword, names, HQ location in the USA, and IRS program categories. Charity Navigator has advanced search capabilities for registered users to search by budget size, CEO compensation, ratings, etc.
 
The Intelligent Philanthropy platform can add new nonprofits to the database within 30-60 days of a user’s request. Guidestar has no process for letting users request charities add on to the basic level of IRS information already posted, and Charity Navigator no longer accepts requests from users for rating new charities. Intelligent Philanthropy's "request-based model" for adding charities ensures no charity's staff takes time to communicate up-to-date performance information unless a real donor is interested.
 
 
Conclusion
In essence, the platforms have significant differences. Guidestar and Charity Navigator have a bigger database of nonprofits, but Intelligent Philanthropy provides more relevant data on nonprofit infrastructure, health, and impact than any other platform. Every astute giver, foundation staff, and financial advisor should be using it to make informed giving decisions.
 
For all these reasons, we believe Intelligent Philanthropy is a superior product worth the small annual fee to become an all-access user with 2x the performance data than competitors offer.
 

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