The Charity Sleuths

What the Intelligent Giving researchers are uncovering, and whose turn it is to make the tea

Friday, June 09, 2006

Our 1000 charities

Out of the 175,000 charities on offer we are only going to review 1000. Here's why:

Before we could start our work, we had to decide which types of charity to review and we had to find those charities. Sounds straightforward, but it wasn't. Remember, we're doing this for individual donors, and there are no comprehensive, independent lists of charities aimed at individual donors. None. Believe me. We looked.

So we spent two months finding and categorising charities that,
a, solicit money from the public and,
b, spend at least £250,000 each year (smaller than that is too hard for many reasons - we'll elaborate one day).

Our final list won't catch them all but we reckon we have most of them. And our surprising discovery is that there are only about 1000 that fit the bill. The rest don't want your money, are too small (for our reviews), or are dormant.

This mirrors the findings of our nearest counterpart, Charity Navigator in the States, who have decided to cover only 7000 charities - in a market that's seven times bigger.

This makes our work easier and - as long as our categories make sense to the public, fingers crossed - it makes the decision-making by our visitors easier.



Anonymous Simon said...

Presumably there must be cases where the distinction isn't clear-cut. I'm thinking of things like: a theatre which normally runs off grants and ticket sales, but has a one-off capital appeal for a new venue; a public school which does solicit donations, but basically only from its own alumni; Bristol Zoo, which adds a (voluntary) donation to ticket prices (meaning it can claim gift aid on the donation part).

How would you deal with charities like that - are they included in your 1000?

1:26 pm  
Blogger The Intelligent Giving Team said...


You are right that in certain circumstances the distinction is not clear. In terms of what we are doing here at Intelligent Giving, we are focusing on charities that carry out works for the benefit of those who are disadvantaged or on particular issues such as environmentalism or conservation. Because of this we will not be reviewing public schools. We will also not be carrying out in depth reviews of theatres (unless they specifically help disadvantaged children, for example), though many of them will be listed on the web site. We will be reviewing Bristol Zoo and many others as they are important charities in the field of conservation.

1:44 pm  

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