The Most Successful Nonprofit Organizations: A Ranking based on Achievements and Impact

Choose the nonprofit organizations you think is the most successful!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 9, 2024 06:17
Discover the powerhouses of positive change as we bring you the ultimate ranking of the most successful nonprofit organizations! Dive into the world of altruism and impact as you explore, vote, and even suggest your favorite organizations that are making a real difference in our world. From environmental champions to social justice warriors, these nonprofits embody the spirit of giving, and now it's your turn to be a part of the story. Unleash your inner philanthropist and join thousands of other passionate individuals in participating in StrawPoll's definitive ranking of nonprofit all-stars. Don't just read about change, be the change – vote now and help us celebrate these incredible organizations!

What Are the Most Successful Nonprofit Organizations?

  1. 1
    American Red Cross
    APK is gonna miss Jeffpw · CC BY-SA 3.0

    American Red Cross

    Clara Barton
    The American Red Cross is one of the most well-known and successful nonprofit organizations in the world. They provide disaster relief, blood donation services, and health and safety training.
    The American Red Cross is a prominent nonprofit organization that serves as a humanitarian relief agency providing emergency assistance, disaster response, and supportive services to communities in the United States and around the world. It is one of the largest and most respected nonprofit organizations globally.
    • Founded: 1881
    • Headquarters: Washington, D.C., United States
    • Motto: Preventing and alleviating human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.
    • Volunteers: Over 300,000 active volunteers.
    • Services: Disaster response, blood donation, health and safety training, supporting military families, and international humanitarian aid.
  2. 2

    World Wildlife Fund

    Max Nicholson
    The World Wildlife Fund is an international organization that works to protect endangered species and their habitats. They are known for their successful conservation efforts and advocacy work.
    The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is one of the most successful nonprofit organizations dedicated to the conservation of nature and addressing the issues surrounding it. It works on a global scale to protect endangered species, preserve natural habitats, and promote sustainable living for both wildlife and human communities.
    • Established: April 29, 1961
    • Headquarters: Gland, Switzerland
    • Focus Areas: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Forests, Oceans, Freshwater
    • International Offices: More than 80 countries
    • Supporters: Over 5 million members
  3. 3
    UNICEF is a United Nations program that provides humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries. They have been successful in reducing child mortality rates and improving access to education.
    UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund) is a leading nonprofit organization that focuses on protecting and supporting children's rights across the globe. Established on December 11, 1946, by the United Nations General Assembly, UNICEF was initially created to provide emergency assistance to children affected by World War II. Over the years, its mandate has expanded to include long-term development programs and advocacy for children's rights.
    • Headquarters: New York, USA
    • Mandate: To promote and safeguard the rights and well-being of every child
    • Presence: Operating in 190 countries and territories
    • Focus areas: Child protection, education, health, nutrition, water, sanitation, and hygiene
    • Funding: Reliant on voluntary contributions from governments, businesses, and individuals
  4. 4
    Doctors Without Borders
    Jklamo · CC BY-SA 4.0
    Doctors Without Borders is a medical humanitarian organization that provides emergency medical care to people affected by conflict, epidemics, and disasters. They have been successful in providing critical medical care in some of the most challenging environments around the world.
    Doctors Without Borders, also known as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), is a non-governmental medical humanitarian organization that provides emergency medical assistance to individuals affected by armed conflicts, natural disasters, epidemics, and other humanitarian crises worldwide. The organization is committed to providing impartial medical care based on the principles of medical ethics and human rights.
    • Global Reach: MSF operates in over 70 countries, providing medical aid to those in need regardless of their race, religion, or political affiliation.
    • Field Presence: MSF has field offices and medical projects in some of the most challenging and remote areas, ensuring medical care reaches those who need it the most.
    • Emergency Response: Doctors Without Borders responds rapidly to emergency situations, setting up medical facilities and providing life-saving care in crisis zones.
    • Specialized Medical Care: The organization offers specialized medical services, including surgical interventions, treatment for infectious diseases, malnutrition, and mental health support.
    • Independence and Neutrality: MSF remains independent of any political, religious, or economic influence, ensuring impartiality and neutrality in its medical operations.
    Doctors Without Borders in other rankings
  5. 5
    Habitat for Humanity
    HFHD · CC BY-SA 4.0

    Habitat for Humanity

    Millard and Linda Fuller
    Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that builds affordable housing for families in need. They have been successful in providing affordable housing solutions and empowering families to achieve stability and self-reliance.
    Habitat for Humanity is an international nonprofit organization that aims to provide safe and decent housing for people in need. The organization was founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller in Americus, Georgia, USA. Habitat for Humanity operates in over 70 countries and has helped millions of individuals and families improve their living conditions.
    • Focus Area: Housing and construction
    • Mission: To build homes, communities, and hope
    • Affordability: Provides no-profit, interest-free mortgage to low-income families
    • Volunteer-driven: Relies on volunteers to build houses
    • Partnerships: Collaborates with corporations, government entities, and other nonprofits
  6. 6
    Save the Children
    WestportWiki · CC BY-SA 3.0

    Save the Children

    Eglantyne Jebb
    Save the Children is an international organization that works to improve the lives of children in need. They are known for their successful child protection programs and advocacy work.
    Save the Children is a leading global nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children in need. They work in 120 countries, providing health and nutrition programs, education, protection from harm, and emergency relief in times of crisis. The organization focuses on addressing the root causes of poverty and inequality that affect children, advocating for their rights, and implementing sustainable solutions. Save the Children is committed to ensuring that every child has the opportunity to grow up healthy, educated, and safe.
    • Year Founded: 1919
    • Headquarters: London, United Kingdom
    • Scope of Work: Global
    • Number of Countries: 120
    • Program Areas: Health, Education, Protection, Emergencies
    Save the Children in other rankings
  7. 7
    Oxfam is an international organization that works to alleviate poverty and promote social justice. They are known for their successful advocacy work and development programs.
    Oxfam is a prominent international confederation of charitable organizations dedicated to alleviating poverty and supporting social justice. It aims to tackle systemic issues such as inequality and discrimination to create lasting change in communities across the globe.
    • Founded: 1942
    • Headquarters: Oxford, United Kingdom
    • Founders: Cecil Jackson-Cole, Joe Mitty
    • Focus Areas: Poverty alleviation, social justice, gender equality, disaster response, economic empowerment
    • Operating Countries: Up to 90 countries
  8. 8
    The Salvation Army
    Rama · CC BY-SA 2.0 fr

    The Salvation Army

    William Booth
    The Salvation Army is a Christian organization that provides social services and assistance to people in need. They have been successful in providing emergency relief, disaster services, and other programs to help people in crisis.
    The Salvation Army is a globally recognized nonprofit organization that offers various social services and operates in 131 countries. It is dedicated to meeting human needs without discrimination or judgment.
    • Established: 1865
    • Headquarters: London, United Kingdom
    • Motto: Heart to God, Hand to Man
    • Services: Emergency relief, food assistance, addiction recovery, housing, social work, and spiritual guidance
    • Volunteers: Over 1.5 million
  9. 9
    Feeding America is a network of food banks that provide food assistance to people in need. They have been successful in reducing food insecurity and hunger in the United States.
    Feeding America is a leading nonprofit organization in the United States that addresses hunger and food insecurity. The organization utilizes a nationwide network of food banks, partnering with various agencies and programs to provide meals to individuals and families in need.
    • Network: Feeding America operates a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs across the United States.
    • Food Distribution: The organization distributes more than 4 billion meals annually, serving approximately 40 million people.
    • Partnerships: Feeding America collaborates with major food retailers, manufacturers, and donors, allowing them to source large quantities of food.
    • Volunteerism: The organization relies heavily on volunteer efforts, with millions of volunteers contributing their time and skills to support food distribution and related activities.
    • Hunger Relief Programs: Feeding America runs various hunger relief programs, including child feeding initiatives, senior feeding programs, and emergency food assistance.
  10. 10
    Amnesty International
    Gunnar Bach Pedersen · Public domain
    Amnesty International is a global movement that works to protect human rights and promote justice. They are known for their successful advocacy work and campaigns to end human rights abuses.
    Amnesty International is a globally renowned nonprofit organization dedicated to combating human rights abuses. It operates in over 150 countries and territories, striving to promote and protect human rights for all individuals. Amnesty International works through research, advocacy, and mobilization to hold governments and other entities accountable for their actions that violate human rights.
    • Founding Year: 1961
    • Headquarters: London, United Kingdom
    • Scope: Global
    • Campaign Focus: Human rights
    • Work Areas: Civil and political rights, economic, social and cultural rights, women's rights, LGBTI rights, refugee and migrant rights, etc.

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Ranking factors for successful nonprofit organizations

  1. Impact
    The extent to which the nonprofit's programs and initiatives have improved the lives of its target population or resolved the issues it addresses. This could be measured by the number of people reached, lives saved, or significant improvements in various indicators related to the organization's goals.
  2. Efficiency
    How effectively the nonprofit uses its resources (including financial, human, and material) to achieve its mission. This includes the organization's ability to maximize its impact while minimizing its operational costs.
  3. Financial sustainability
    The ability of a nonprofit to maintain or grow resources needed to effectively achieve its mission, and its ability to allocate funds as needed. This also considers the organization's level of financial transparency and accountability.
  4. Innovation
    The extent to which a nonprofit organization utilizes creative approaches, emerging technologies, and develops unique solutions to tackle the issues faced by its target population.
  5. Scalability
    The ability of the organization to expand or replicate its successful programs to reach a larger audience or achieve greater impact.
  6. Collaboration
    The nonprofit's ability to work well with other organizations, both within the nonprofit sector and with government or private partners, to achieve shared goals and leverage additional resources.
  7. Governance and leadership
    The effectiveness of the organization's board and leadership in setting strategic direction, ensuring financial accountability, and supporting the organization's vision and mission.
  8. Reputation and public trust
    The organization's standing in the community and its sector, as well as the level of trust and confidence donors, beneficiaries, and other stakeholders have in the organization.
  9. Adaptability and resilience
    The ability of the organization to adapt to changes and challenges in its environment, and to learn from failures and mistakes, while maintaining its focus on achieving its mission.
  10. Monitoring and evaluation
    The organization's ability to track its progress and measure the outcomes of its programs through evidence-based methods, and to use this information to improve its effectiveness.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most successful nonprofit organizations. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or nonprofit organization is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 191 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each nonprofit organization once every 24 hours. The rank of each nonprofit organization is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


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More information on most successful nonprofit organizations

Nonprofit organizations are an essential part of our society, providing various services and support to those in need. These organizations operate on a mission to serve the public interest, unlike for-profit businesses, which aim to generate profits for their owners or shareholders. The success of a nonprofit organization is measured by its ability to achieve its goals, impact the community positively, and sustain its operations over time. Some of the most successful nonprofit organizations have global recognition, such as the Red Cross and UNICEF, while others operate at a local or regional level. These organizations play a vital role in addressing societal issues, from poverty and homelessness to healthcare and education. In this article, we will explore some of the most successful nonprofit organizations and their impact on society.

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