This section describes how we calculate and issue ratings. For a quicker overview of our process, please read our FAQ for donors and nonprofits.

ImpactMatters Methodology

ImpactMatters is a new charity rating agency that helps donors find high impact nonprofits. To make smart decisions, donors need to know the impact of the nonprofits they are asked to support. Little information readily exists. Often, nonprofits communicate only through stories, without accompanying evidence. ImpactMatters is filling this information gap with a rating system that takes explicit account of how much good the nonprofit achieves per dollar of cost.

To assign impact ratings, we use publicly available information to estimate the actual impact the nonprofit’s program has on people’s life. We then compare those impact estimates to benchmarks to determine if the nonprofit is cost-effective. Our ratings provide an easy signal of impact for donors.


We welcome feedback on our methodology here.


Impact Rating Standard: Describes how we assign star ratings to nonprofits based on their impact.

Methodology for Estimating Impact: Lays out principles for estimating costs and impacts and comparing them to estimate cost-effectiveness.

Program Analysis Methodology: Describes how we analyze individual types of programs, such as homeless shelters or soup kitchens.

Reference Manual for Analysis: Details the procedures we follow to collect and interpret data.


If you are interested in using our data, please get in touch at