Go to Blog Home

The Best Online Charity Evaluation Tool: Intelligent Philanthropy

Do you want to know if you are supporting effective and efficient nonprofit organizations?  You can.  That is what the Intelligent Philanthropy web platform is designed to do.  I've stopped blogging for the past 4 months to launch it as soon as we could.

I have been working on this project for almost 2 years with my coworkers at Excellence In Giving.  We have evaluated all other online resources for making smart giving decisions and determined that our platform will outperform all of them.  Intelligent Philanthropy is more comprehensive than Charity Navigator and more up-to-date than Guidestar's information.  Intelligent Philanthropy is a proven approach.  We have used the content of the platform as step #1 in our philanthropic analysis for the last 8 years as we advised on over $100 million worth of grants.

The Intelligent Philanthropy platform provides a dynamic, searchable database of hundreds of nonprofit Analytical Overviews for U.S.-based 501(c)(3) organizations.  Each Analytical Overview is a succinct 2-page presentation of 120 critical data points about leadership, finances, sustainability, strategy, and impact.  In less than 5 minutes of analysis, you can know more about an organization's health and performance than any event, annual report, or other online service can provide.

The Intelligent Philanthropy platform lets you search the database by topic, people served, nations served, leader, organization name, or HQ location.  You can find an organization working on a problem you want to solve and compare their effectiveness to other groups focused on the same issue.  The database grows based on requests from subscribers and constant submissions from new nonprofits.  It will now host my blog as it becomes the new online hub for philanthropic due diligence.

There is no other resource that outperforms Analytical Overviews in their ability to help you give confidently and wisely!  The release of the Intelligent Philanthropy platform will do for philanthropy what Kayak did for online travel purchases and Consumer Reports did for shopping.  You will have the inside scoop on nonprofit performance and the ability to compare organizations to their peers.  The platform allows you to download, save, and print an unlimited number of Analytical Overviews with a one-year subscription.  So join now and get started giving wisely today!

Print Friendly and PDF

Tags: Strategic Giving, Due Diligence, Charity Evaluations, Nonprofit Evaluation, Charity Evaluation, Intelligent Philanthropy

Add Your Comments

(not published)

unreturned check or

I sent a check for #3 to charity navugator to receive a booklet on
reaponsible charities. Nothing No book Guess Navigation
Charity is not one to support

Response to: Potential Donor

Thanks for the question about how Intelligent Philanthropy compares to GuideStar. In response, we decided to post our in-house comparison to both Guidestar and Charity Navigator on the website. Just scroll to the footer on any page and click the button in the bottom left entitled "Compare Intelligent Philanthropy to Charity Navigator & GuideStar."

The main difference is that both Charity Navigator & GuideStar rely on 2-year old IRS data. So they are basically reformatting outdated financial and staff information. Intelligent Philanthropy provides current, comprehensive information more focused on sustainability, strategy, and impact.

Did you know that our $59 charter member price includes an unlimited number of requests for new Analytical Overviews not in the database whereas Charity Navigator requires a $1,000 donation to rate a new charity not in their database? Did you know that Guidestar charges $1,500 per year for a Premium Membership that gives you access to balance sheets and older financial records? Our small annual fee is dangerously low when compared to those numbers. That is why the charter member price will only last until the first 50 members sign up!

Thanks for the answer. You've thought it through, as I figured you had. Another question, off the cuff: How is your service different than GuideStar?

Response to: Charing for giving.

I can certainly appreciate the difficult question: Is it worth paying $59 for a year's worth of informed giving? Money is tight in a tough economy, and at first glance it seems like you would be reducing your giving by paying for this service.

From one perspective, you would be giving $59 less. If the goal is to give the most money possible each year, then this platform is a bad idea. It reduces the total giving. However, if the goal is to give money to effective organizations that are producing sustainable life change, then any resource that increases such high-impact giving is a significant asset. From that perspective, it is better to give $1,000 with an inside look at organizational performance rather than $1,059 without confidence or accountability in the process.

In terms of operational costs, we cannot provide the most comprehensive look at nonprofit health, infrastructure, and impact for free. The acquisition of each overview, the annual updating process, the quality checking, the site development and maintenance, and the years invested in learning the right questions to ask and data collect takes significant human and financial resources. Since we have a policy to never charge nonprofits for anything, we have set appropriate prices for all 3 different types of users to inform their giving. Even a small donor who makes $25,000/yr and gives 10% or $2,500 is only spending 2% of their giving dollars to make the other 98% more effective. We believe that small price is more than made up for in the increased impact from funding high performers and the avoidance of donating to inefficient and ineffective programs.

To answer your final question, a lifetime membership would not work well with our planned phases of future development. At this point, our prices fit the available service. But as the database expands, it will become more and more valuable each year. As we add services and features, we will have to keep evaluating operational costs and subscription prices. So setting some sort of lifetime membership would be difficult to valuate and in the end more prohibitive to the small donor without extensive current cash flow. Hope that explanation helps!

Charging for giving.

Love the idea of helping people give well, so to speak. Well-designed website too. I've been a fan of Excellence in Giving for a few years now, from the perspective of working in a nonprofit and as a donor.

I have to say, though, that I feel a bit of a disconnect here. You point out in your sample the benefits of having a large base of smaller donors, yet you charge quite a bit annually for this service. Prohibitively so, it seems, for my idea of small donors.

Of course, maybe my idea of small donors is much smaller than yours (I do work on a nonprofit wage, after all). Regardless, both my wife and I are wondering if a lifetime membership model wouldn't be better for Intelligent Philanthropy.

See sample email of Excellence in Giving Daily Philanthropic News Feed.

Go to Blog Home