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Analytical Gifts

Seven groups with different approaches to evaluating philanthropies

Charity Navigator (

The biggest of the charity ratings groups, it looks at 5,500 organizations. Its current four-star system is based largely on financial criteria; a pending overhaul, expected to be launched in 2011, will add information on social effectiveness.

GiveWell (

GiveWell offers detailed, equity research-like reports on nearly 400 nonprofits. It recommends just nine that pass its strict criteria.

GreatNonprofits (

GreatNonprofits, launched after Hurricane Katrina, gauges nonprofits through crowdsourcing. It allows clients, volunteers, and funders of nonprofits to post reviews based on their personal experiences.

GuideStar (

GuideStar acts as a clearinghouse of information on nonprofits, with data from the Form 990 tax forms these groups must file as well as the reviews of GreatNonprofits.

Partners for Change (

This new initiative aims to get research on nonprofits into the hands of financial advisers and their clients who give away at least $10,000 a year. The idea: to make it easy for individuals to mimic the portfolios of well-run foundations.

Philanthropedia (

This recently launched effort asks experts for their opinions on social causes, such as education and Bay Area homelessness, and then uses the answers to create "expert mutual funds" with a dozen or so organizations or "holdings."

Root Cause (

Root Cause's new research targets financial advisers with reports on nonprofits. Its first test series of reports was on school-readiness organizations.

Data: Bloomberg BusinessWeek

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