8 of the Largest Charitable Nonprofits in America

Charities to Consider for a Donation

There are thousands of charitable nonprofits available to donors. You might sort charities based on their cause, longevity, or popularity. The following list is based on size. It includes some of the charities with the most revenue.

Since choosing a charity for your donation should not just be about its size, we chose the largest charities that also rank well (three or four stars) according to Charity Navigator, the premier charity rating site in the US. We also sorted our list according to specific missions.

You might decide to use different criteria for your charity choices. Any list is just a place to start.

Worldwide Community Development

United Way is the nation’s largest charity by donations received, but also because of its reach. There are nearly 1,800 communities in more than 40 locations around the world. It seeks to strengthen communities by improving education, health, and financial stability.

During its founding in 1887, United Way raised $21,700 for local charities, relief services, and emergency grants. In 2018, the charity brought in $3.9 billion.

United Way Worldwide has specialized programs to serve communities, including Mission Way, connecting veterans with services they need, and Character Playbook, which guides students with positive personal development.

You can find volunteer opportunities at a local United Way, or join a group like Young Leaders Society or Women United. You can also donate on the United Way site, or through apps and websites such as AmazonSmile or Coinstar.

Charity Navigator Rating: 4 stars

Compared to United Way’s broad reach and initiatives, Compassion International’s mission is focused and personal. Get involved by sponsoring a child through monthly donations. These donations provide health care, educational aid, nutrition, spiritual development, and more. Compassion International is church-based, so every child is linked with a Christ-centered church in their community.

You can also become a volunteer, host local events at your church, or create a fundraising campaign.

The organization has high accountability and transparency, but a lower financial score on Charity Navigator. It reported $891 million in revenue for the fiscal year 2018.

Charity Navigator Rating: 3 stars

Health and Human Services

The second largest charity in the U.S., Feeding America reported revenue of $2.7 billion for 2018.

Feeding America provides food to 46 million people nationwide through 200 food banks and 60,000 pantries and meal programs.

Donors can make secure one-time donations on the Feeding America website or set up monthly donations. You can get involved by volunteering or creating a fundraising campaign. Feeding America can also be supported through workplace giving and organized food drives with local food banks.

Charity Navigator Rating: 4 stars

The largest healthcare and health research charity in the U.S., St. Jude’s focuses on children’s catastrophic diseases like cancer and sickle cell disease. When St. Jude was founded in 1962, only 20% of children with cancer in the U.S. survived. Today, more than 80% survive. St. Jude’s researches cures and prevention for childhood diseases, funded by generous donors.

St. Jude’s ranked number six on Forbes largest US charities with $2.9 billion in revenue in 2018.

St. Jude’s has many ways to get involved, like school fundraisers, workplace giving, and monthly donations. Sports and fitness fundraisers are popular events; supporters can run, bike, or walk in an official event to support St. Jude’s cause.

Charity Navigator Rating: 4 stars

International Services and Humanitarian Relief

Americares is one of the largest and fastest-growing charities in the nation. For 2017, the humanitarian aid and disaster relief organization received revenue of nearly $2.4 billion in 2018.

When supporters navigate to the Americares site, they can immediately see which cause is most urgent and given priority. Americares also has a helpful pop-up of current crisis alerts that they monitor and assess. In addition to emergency response programs, Americares has long-term initiatives that focus on access to medicine, clinical services, and community health.

Charity Navigator Rating: 4 stars

Similar to Americares, Direct Relief works in the U.S. and distributes disaster relief to people in need worldwide. Direct Relief equips doctors and nurses with supplies and medicine so that they can provide care in over 140 countries.

Among the charities on our list, Direct Relief has the highest score on Charity Navigator. It scored 100 out of 100 in both finances and accountability/transparency. Direct Relief brought in $1.2 billion in revenue in 2018, and the organization has a full transparency policy that keeps documents open to the public.

Donors know where their contribution is going. Furthermore, you can donate more than just money. You can donate assets, bitcoin, products or services, and even vehicles to the organization.   

Charity Navigator Rating: 4 stars

Environment and Wildlife

The Nature Conservancy was the largest environmental and wildlife charity in 2017, bringing in nearly $1.1 billion in total revenue.

With over 1 million members in all 50 states and more than 30 countries, the organization protects lands and waters. The  Nature Conservancy uses science-based research to tackle issues like fresh water, invasive species, and climate change.

High expenses affected The Nature Conservancy’s current score on Charity Navigator keeping it from earning four stars.

Charity Navigator Rating: 3 stars

Education and Social Welfare

Step Up for Students is one of the largest charities focused on education in the nation. The organization offers options to struggling students and families in Florida.

Step Up for Students has a narrower focus than the other charities on our list, but it has made an impact on its community in Florida. Its Student Spotlight page showcases their scholars’ achievements, perseverance, and experiences. To get involved, one can donate, share the story by speaking to the media, or contact lawmakers.  

Charity Navigator Rating: 4 stars

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