ImpactMatters has been acquired by Charity Navigator.

Learn more on charitynavigator.org

ImpactMatters has been acquired by Charity Navigator.

Learn more on charitynavigator.org See an example of the new impact rating

Tag – Researchers

Tips and information on effective giving

Donors     Researchers     Nonprofits

Introducing Impact Ratings

We launched ImpactMatters with a simple goal: help donors find high-impact nonprofits. With thousands of charitable nonprofits in the United States covering countless causes, the prospect can be daunting. After lots of tinkering, we have come up with a solution we like — and we hope you will too. Our team analyzed 1,000 nonprofits to calculate how your donation to that nonprofit changes a life. Then, we built an easy-to-use rating system that identifies nonprofits that do the most good.

We encourage you to explore our site:

  • Search for a specific nonprofit or filter nonprofits by cause, program type or ...

Continue reading

Categories: Product Updates

Researchers

Using Benchmarks to Analyze Cost-Effectiveness

We analyze the impact of nonprofits — that is, the good a nonprofit achieves relative to the cost to achieve it. In this post, we describe how we then make sense of nonprofit impact by making comparisons to a benchmark. We also discuss how we select those benchmarks, and some of the critiques of our benchmarks and benchmarking in general. To see a specific example of benchmarking, we recommend you look at our work on food distribution programs, which are assessed against a relatively straightforward benchmark.

Why benchmark? Impact calculations alone don’t tell us whether the nonprofit is making ...

Continue reading

Categories: Understanding Impact

Researchers

What are Disability-Adjusted Life Years?

Comparing disparate health interventions

How would you compare an intervention that prevents one person from going blind to another that saves the life of a child? Saving a life seems like the clear choice, but does that change once you learn that it costs $50 to prevent blindness and $2,000 to save a child’s life? Does it change if saving the life costs $50,000? If preventing blindness costs $2? Where is the line, and how can you come to know it?

We faced these questions at ImpactMatters. Take our list of Top Health Nonprofits. In ranking the impact of nonprofits within the health ...

Continue reading

Categories: Understanding Impact

Researchers

What Goes Into a Program Methodology?

Selecting and testing an approach to estimating the returns to education

What is the value of a college education? In estimating the impact of postsecondary scholarship programs, we searched the research literature for an answer. Two options emerged. We could apply estimates from studies that used causal identification techniques, such as those by Zimmerman (2014) and Belfield and Bailey (2017). Or, we could adopt the method of studies such as those by Levin et al. (2007) and Carnevale et al. (2011) and take the difference in median earnings between graduates and non-graduates, stratified on demographic characteristics. 

In this blog post, we discuss our choice of strategy and how we checked ...

Continue reading

Categories: Understanding Impact

Donors     Researchers     Nonprofits

What We Learned About Food Distribution

As a team, we’ve spent the past few months digging into hunger alleviation nonprofits — food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens — to understand their impact. We have a few takeaways. Most importantly, food distribution is a good bang for your buck. Of the 305 nonprofits we analyzed, a massive 265 provide a meal to a person in need at less than 75 percent of the price of a regular meal in their community, thus earning them 5 stars.

A brief recap of our process. We set out to estimate how many dollars it took food banks, food pantries ...

Continue reading

Categories: What We Learned...

Donors     Researchers     Nonprofits

What We Learned About Tree Planting

There’s not a lot we could write here about the threat of climate change that hasn’t already been said. Higher temperatures, more destructive storms, disruption of food systems — the list goes on. But nonprofits have risen to the challenge, whether by getting individuals to adopt greener habits or advocating for change on the global stage.

The ImpactMatters research team focused first on nonprofits that are battling climate change one tree at a time, including reforestation nonprofits (which target areas that were once forested) and urban forestry nonprofits (which plant trees in cities). The measurable environmental benefit stems from the ...

Continue reading

Categories: What We Learned...

Donors     Researchers     Nonprofits

What We Learned About Postsecondary Scholarships

Students in the U.S. pay some of the steepest fees for postsecondary education in the world and face more student loan debt than all other countries combined. Despite the cost, postsecondary degrees are seen as a silver bullet in the U.S., providing a path to higher wages, more fulfilling employment and better health. Many nonprofits offer scholarships so that students with financial need or other disadvantages can share in the benefits of postsecondary education. But, how do scholarships actually impact the long-term outcomes for students? The ImpactMatters team endeavored to review as many scholarship-granting nonprofits as we could to answer ...

Continue reading

Categories: What We Learned...

Donors     Researchers     Nonprofits

What We Learned About Water Purification

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 780 million people worldwide lack access to clean water — a harrowing figure. Thankfully, many nonprofits are at the vanguard of providing clean water to communities who otherwise lack access. The ImpactMatters team has been looking at a subset of these nonprofits, which provide water purification systems to extremely poor beneficiaries so they can get clean water. But what is the true impact of these water purification programs? Should donors be putting their limited dollars in these nonprofits’ hands? To answer these questions, we analyzed 11 nonprofits to start with, working ...

Continue reading

Categories: What We Learned...

Donors     Researchers     Nonprofits

What We Learned About Cataract Surgery

A cataract is the clouding of the lens of the eye, preventing clear vision. Fortunately, cataracts can be treated with minimally invasive surgery. Nevertheless, cataracts remain the cause of over half of all blindness worldwide. The global poor bear a disproportionate amount of this burden, as unfortunately, people with cataracts in developing countries often lack access to sight-saving medical services. Recognizing this gap, nonprofits have developed programs to provide cataract surgery to those who would otherwise have no choice but to live with blindness. These are often called surgical outreach camps. The ImpactMatters team sought to estimate the impact of ...

Continue reading

Categories: What We Learned...

Donors     Researchers     Nonprofits

What We Learned About Disability Benefits for Veterans

Donors care a lot about our nation’s veterans — it’s the second most common charity type people search for, after cancer. We’ve spent the last few months analyzing the impact of the specific group of nonprofits that help disabled veterans claim the payments (“benefits”) they are owed by the government — and we’ve discovered a few things along the way. 

First, a brief explanation of our process. We evaluated programs that provide legal and administrative assistance to veterans who are owed benefits by the Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.). The system to claim disability benefits, as it turns out, is ...

Continue reading

Categories: What We Learned...