Two of the top-rated American charities are United Way and the Salvation Army. These are just two of thousands of charities in the United States established to benefit a variety of causes. Charities are ranked on a number of categories that measure the efficiency of their operation.
Forbes ranks American charities based on five major categories: private support, total revenue, fund-raising efficiency, charitable commitment and donor dependency. Private support measures donations made to the organization, while total revenue measures the remainder of the money the charity has at its disposal, either through government stipends or otherwise. Fund-raising efficiency and charitable commitment measure how effective the charity is with the money it receives. Ideally, a charity should exhibit high percentages in each of these categories as the former determines how well it brings in money, and the latter determines how much of its total revenue goes to the cause it helps. The final category, donor dependency, ranks the percentage of funds that the charity relies on donors to provide.
The top-ranked charities, United Way and Salvation Army, rank in the upper echelon in each of these five categories. The major difference between the two, and between many charities at the top of the list, lies in donor dependency. United Way relies completely on donor generosity, while the Salvation Army relies on it for only 56 percent of its funds.