Track Your Charitable Donations Online

A new charity-rating online tool measures the impact of every dollar donated to a particular organization.

Most of us give to charity because we want to make the world a better place. But many donors fear that their contributions won’t be used efficiently or may even be misused., a new charity-rating system, seeks to address those concerns with an online tool that measures the impact of every dollar donated to a particular organization.

For example, a $25 donation to Shared Harvest Foodbank, an Ohio-based charity, will provide a meal to 13 needy people, and $25 donated to Paralyzed Veterans of America will increase benefits claimed by a disabled veteran by $250, according to ImpactMatters’ analysis. Charities are given a one- to five-star rating. ImpactMatters bases its ratings on charities that serve the same cause so donors can make an apples-to-apples comparison.

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Elijah Goldberg, executive director of ImpactMatters, says its system analyzes a wider range of nonprofits than, which also measures cost-effectiveness but focuses on international charities.

Currently, ImpactMatters has rated about 1,000 charities, which is just a fraction of the thousands of charities eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions. Some charities that haven’t yet been rated receive a “governance report,” which Goldberg says is designed to provide donors with basic information and alert them to problems, such as egregious overhead expenses.

Sandra Block
Senior Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Block joined Kiplinger in June 2012 from USA Today, where she was a reporter and personal finance columnist for more than 15 years. Prior to that, she worked for the Akron Beacon-Journal and Dow Jones Newswires. In 1993, she was a Knight-Bagehot fellow in economics and business journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has a BA in communications from Bethany College in Bethany, W.Va.