External evaluators

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Workspace: Audit

Several institutions evaluate not-for-profit organizations. For future reference we list them here and track a bit of what they have to say, if anything, about the WMF and Wikimedia DC. None so far evaluates Wikimedia DC. This material may be more relevant to WMDC Governance than to Audit but they share workspaces in essence.

  • GuideStar USA aka GuideStar Exchange: "Evaluation is based on an audited financial report, impact report and other organization information."[1] They have digitized Form 990 information. Coverage includes 1.8m IRS-recognized institutions and thousands of others not registered with the IRS.[2] They have information about Wikimedia DC, WMF and WikiEd and Wikimedia NY.
  • Charity Navigator evaluates 8000 organizations as of mid-2016, scoring them on financial health, accountability, and cost-efficiency.[3] Their valuation "is based on seven years of Forms 990."[1] Their past evaluations of the WMF give scores between 86 and 96 on a scale of 0-100, which translates to three or four stars. A peculiarity is that they classify the WMF as a research organization, not an educational one. They do not evaluate Wikimedia DC. They include some public comments on the organizations by Web visitors to their own site.
  • BBB Wise Giving Alliance evaluates charities "based on governance and oversight information, mission effectiveness, financial data and fundraising practices."[1] BBB stands for Better Business Bureau.
  • Great Nonprofits evaluates charities "based on user reviews."[1]
  • Independent Charities of America: "Evaluation is based on financial statements, Form 990 and governance information." Charities paying membership fees may be authorized to display a seal (image) from the ICA.[1]
  • CharityWatch: "Evaluation is based on the charity’s annual report, audited financial statements and Form 990." "CharityWatch [is a] membership organization [which] selects about 600 charities to evaluate each year based on the interests of its members, and tends to focus on charities with more than $1 million in annual revenue."[1]
  • Charities Review Council: "Evaluation is based on public disclosure, governance and financial activity and fundraising benchmarks. The evaluated charities pay an annual fee.[1]
  • GiveWell[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Janna Finch. Survey: Do Ratings From Watchdog Groups Impact Giving Decisions? The Able Altruist web site. 9 July 2014.
  2. GuideStar home page
  3. 3.0 3.1 Ann Carrns. Charity Navigator Tweaks Its Rating System. New York Times. 27 May 2016.