Over 1.5 million 501(c)(3) charities are registered in the US. How do you find the right one for your goals? The following can help you identify legitimate, highly effective charities that can have the greatest impact on the causes you support. You may search for charities addressing a specific cause, or research the effectiveness or background of any charity using the resources listed below.
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Center for Disaster Philanthropy
The Center for Disaster Philanthropy is a dedicated resource to help donors make more thoughtful disaster-related giving decisions and maximize the impact of their gifts.
Search Candid (formerly GuideStar) for up-to-date data on nonprofits which includes program descriptions, financial information, and supplementary information for a wide range of charities. Candid’s search function allows you to find an organization by keyword, city, state, zip, nonprofit category, revenue range or employer identification number (EIN).
Charity Navigator allows you to search charities through a variety of criteria including category, topic, Employer Identification Number (EIN), and more. Charity Navigator provides in depth information about their rating methodology as well lists of charities sorted by cause.
Founded by the American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP), Charity Watch provides detailed information about how efficiently a charity will use donations to fund the programs you want to support while exposing nonprofit abuses as well.
The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance produces reports about national charities and evaluates them against comprehensive standards for charity accountability. Give.org reports on around 1300 nationally soliciting charities.
IRS – Internal Revenue Service
Donor-advised funds facilitate grants to eligible 501(c)(3) charitable organizations, as recommended by donors. Schwab Charitable and other donor-advised funds rely on a variety of sources, including the IRS and other federal and state regulators to determine eligibility status. The IRS offers a Tax Exempt Organizations Search where you can find organizations eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions and those whose tax-exempt status has been revoked. If an organization is ineligible for any reason or under active investigation by the IRS, state regulators or law enforcement, Schwab Charitable may suspend any grant recommendations until the investigation is concluded and the organization regains its 501(c)(3) charitable status.
We encourage people with concerns about the activities of any charitable organization to contact the IRS or state regulators. To contact the IRS, you may use Form 13909, Tax-Exempt Organization Complaint (Referral) Form. Visit IRS >
NASCO – National Association of State Charity Officials
NASCO is composed of attorneys general, secretaries of state and other state officials charged with the oversight of charitable organizations. NASCO tracks legal actions against charities, including a group of fraudulent charities that claimed to serve veterans and service members. We encourage people with concerns about the activities of any charitable organization to contact the IRS or state regulators. NASCO maintains a list of state contacts on its web site. Visit NASCO >
Didn't find your charity?
Even if a charity is not in the databases above, you can still recommend a grant if the organization is a qualified public charity.
Simply enter the charity's information in your grant recommendation and Schwab Charitable™ will research the charity's eligibility.
Try searching for location, activity, or revenue, because the IRS (and the charitable organizations themselves) often abbreviates names, making a keyword search more difficult.
There are several reasons an organization may not appear in a database.
- It may not be an IRS-registered 501(c)(3) organization eligible to accept tax-deductible contributions.
- It may be registered under a different name with the IRS. For instance, GuideStar is registered under the name “Philanthropic Research, Inc.”
- It may be considered a religious entity and is therefore not required to file with the IRS for tax-exempt status.
- It may be a program associated with a larger organization and not have its own listing.
- It may no longer be a 501(c)(3) organization, having lost its IRS status or gone out of business.
- It may be a new charity that has not been entered in the database yet.
Try limiting your search by choosing the largest revenue range. If nothing comes up, choose the next highest range.
Some databases may not include your religious organization because religious entities are not required to file with the IRS for tax-exempt status. Only a fraction of American houses of worship have applied for formal IRS tax-exempt status.
Even if a charity is not listed in the databases above, you can still recommend a grant if the organization is a qualified U.S.-based public charity.
As a safeguard, before a grant can be given to a particular charity, Schwab Charitable helps determine if that charity meets basic qualifications. If you'd like to contribute to a charity that is not yet in our system, simply enter the charity's information in your grant recommendation and Schwab Charitable will research the charity's eligibility.