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The top 10 charities changing the world in 2015

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They're big and global, with budgets exceeding $100 million and net assets of at least $65 million. Yet these 10 charities manage to do exceptional work throughout the country and overseas, all while maintaining stellar financial management and transparency.

Still, before giving to any charity — large or small — it's important to understand how much of your money actually goes to the cause being supported and how much is earmarked for administrative expenses. "For these larger charities, you want to see at least 75 percent of their budget going to programs and services," said Sandra Miniutti, vice president of marketing for Charity Navigator, a service that provides information about a charity's functions, finances and management. It, along with BBB Wise Giving Alliance and Charity Watch, are free to use, although others charge both the site user and the charity to be rated.

It's also important to note how a charity's revenue is trending over time. If there are consecutive years of decreases, that could be a red flag.

The following are some of the highest-rated charities, according to Charity Navigator. Their scores — ranked on a scale of 1 to 100 — are based on financial health, accountability and the transparency of reporting.

By Susan Caminiti, special to CNBC.com
Posted 1 December 2015

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