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Comparison of Intelligent Philanthropy, Guidestar, and Charity Navigator. Guidestar and Charity Navigator provide about half of the health and performance data Intelligent Philanthropy summarizes in 2-page nonprofit Analytical Overviews. High-capacity foundations and philanthropy advisors use Intelligent Philanthropy because of more up-to-date, comprehensive, and results-oriented data in a user-friendly format.

$ = Pay for access

FEATURES Intelligent Philanthropy Guidestar* Charity Navigator
Pricing Strategy Free basic profiles or $59 annual subscription Free basic profiles or $1,500 annual ($250 monthly) subscription FREE with ads and donate requests
 FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
3 - 4 year old Financials
$
view 990 or $ if charity didn't add
Free
1 1/2 - 2 year old Financials
$
view 990 or $ if charity didn't add
Free
Complete Independent Financial Audits?
$
download audits if available
Free
Program, Admin & Fundraising Expenses
$
view 990 or $ if charity didn't add
Free
Budget (current from last update)
$
 
 
Debt Level (current from last update)
$
 
 
Cash Reserves (current from last update)
$
 
 
FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY
Revenue & Expense Growth Rate
$
Free
3-Year Annual Income Trend
$
$
 
Fundraising Efficiency
Free
 
 
3-Year Number of Donors Trend
$
 
 
Donor Retention Rate
$
 
 
Number of Donors Listed By Gift Size
$
 
 
ACCOUNTABILITY
Governance Policies copied from 990
 
 
 Free
Download Form 990s
 
 Free
 Free
Is Form 990 on Charity Website?
$
 
 Free
IRS Registration information
 
$
 Free
Is Annual Report on Charity Website?
$
 download if available
 
Written Financial Controls
$
 
 
Perform Annual CEO Evaluation
$
 
 
LEADERSHIP
CEO Name
Free
 Free
 Free
CEO Compensation
$
view 990 or $ if charity didn't add
 Free
Board Chairperson
$
view 990 or $ if charity didn't add
 Free
Names of Board Members
 
view 990 or $ if charity didn't add
 
Number of Board Members
 Free 
view 990 or $ if charity didn't add
 
Number of Board Committees & Meetings
$
 
 
Annual Budget % Funded by Board
$
 
 
Number of Staff
 Free 
view 990 or $ if charity didn't add
 
Number of Volunteers
 Free 
 
 
Staff Retention Rate
$
 
 
3-Year Staff Size Trend
$
$
 
STRATEGY
Mission Statement
 Free 
 Free 
 Free 
Statement of Problem Addressed
$
 
 Sometimes
Statement of Solutions Provided
$
view 990 or $ if charity didn't add
 Sometimes
List of Key Partners
$
 
 
List of Nonprofit Peer Group
$
 
 Free 
1-5 Year Plan with Milestones
$
 if charity adds
 
Recent Program Improvement
$
 
 
S.W.O.T. Self-Analysis
$
 
 
IMPACT
Program Results Statement
 Free 
 if charity adds
 
3-Year People Served Growth %
 Free 
 
 
Number of People Served Last Year
 Free 
 
 
3-Year Key Program Activity Growth %
$
 
 
Exemplary Project Description
$
 if charity adds
 
Use of Key Performance Indicators
$
 if charity adds
 
Outcomes Measured against Benchmarks
$
 if charity adds
 
Independent Evaluation of Programs
$
 
 
Survey of Beneficiaries about Programs
$
 
 
WEBSITE FUNCTIONALITY
Nonprofit Contact Info & EIN
$
 Free 
 Free 
Nonprofit Website Links
 Free 
 Free 
 Free 
Nonprofits in Searchable Database
500
2.2 million
1.6 million
Ad-Free Website
 Free 
 Free 
 
Integrated Third-Party Reviews
 
 Free (if available)
 Free (if available) 
Donation Processing
 
 Free 
 Free 
Search by Keyword, Name, or Location
 Free 
 Free 
 Free 
Search by Topic
 Free 
 Free 
 Free 
Search by People or Nations Served
 Free 
 
 
Search by Nonprofit Leader
 Free 
 $ 
 Free 
Advanced Search for Registered Users
 
 
 Free 
Easy to print information
 Free 
 Free 
 Free 
1-page printable summaries
 Free 
 
 
Color-enhanced Declining Trends in Red
$
 
 
Add nonprofits in 90 days of user request
$
 
 
* 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 to make 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 with all these additional capabilities.
 
Finances. Since no investor would make investment decisions based on 2-year old annual reports (the equivalent of using 1-2 year old IRS Guidestar and Charity Navigator essentially reformat), Intelligent Philanthropy provides up-to-date financials including the current year budget, cash reserves, and debt level. In the financial and growth trend sections, nonprofit Analytical Overviews highlight declining trends and budget shortfalls in red font so you can tell where the organization is in decline and how many of the last 3 years they have ended in the red.
 
Leadership. All 3 charity evaluators name the board chairperson and CEO, but only Intelligent Philanthropy helps you determine how engaged board members are by listing the number of board committees, annual meetings, and the institution of an annual CEO performance review. Only Intelligent Philanthropy provides 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.
 
Strategy & Impact. 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 (Charity Navigator plans to integrate a judgment of impact measurement practices into the ratings by 2016 ), a recent program improvement, the growth rate in people served and a summary of strategic future plans.
  
User-Friendly. Intelligent Philanthropy fits 175 data points into an easy-to-save, view, and print 2-page PDF for paid subscribers and 16 key data points in a 1-page charity performance profile available for FREE. Guidestar’s “print report" button creates prefabricated sections spanning 2-20 pages that may or may not have any content and requires $125 to populate certain fields.
 
Search Function. The Intelligent Philanthropy search sidebar 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. Although Charity Navigator has advanced capabilities to search by budget size, CEO compensation, ratings, etc., no other platform can search by nations served or type of people served.
 
User Requests. The Intelligent Philanthropy platform will add or update nonprofit Analytical Overviews when paid subscriber's make requests. Guidestar has some IRS data on all charities but no process for users to request charities complete or update the posted IRS data. Charity Navigator no longer accepts requests from users for rating new charities. Intelligent Philanthropy's "request-based model" for adding charities also 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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