Q:

What is a good way to check the credibility of a nonprofit?

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Quick Answer

Many websites of consumer watchdog organizations and professional agencies, like Give.org, CharityWatch.org and CharityNavigator.org, list information regarding the legitimacy of nonprofit organizations. Interested donors can also request a copy of a group's Form 990; all nonprofit organizations must file this form.

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Full Answer

Give.org is the website of the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving alliance, a group that helps promote high standards among nonprofits that ask for donations from the public. The website provides reports about charities in the United States and evaluates each group.

Charity Watch is a watchdog group founded in 1995 by the American Institute of Philanthropy. The website offers ratings of nonprofits, a list of top-rated groups and blog posts on philanthropy. A full publication of the group's ratings is available by requesting for a sample copy or signing up as a member and receiving it tri-annually.

Charity Navigator functions as a personal nonprofit manager. It rates groups on a four-star system based on their financial efficiency. Potential donors can read about how well a nonprofit uses its contributions. Personalized tracking tools are also available to registered members.

A Form 990 is a document submitted to the Internal Revenue Service that provides detailed information regarding donor contributions and a breakdown of how much each officer earns.

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