Search Ranking Algorithm

Have you ever wondered how GlobalGiving determines the order that projects are served up to donors when they search on our website?

We assign a score to every project in order to rank them. There are four components that determine the order--essentially 1) frequency of Project Report submission (40%), 2) number of donors (20%), 3) volume of donations (20%) and 4) how close the project is to its funding goal (20%).

If you are a project leader, the good news is that you can influence each of these: 


 Percent of score

Description and Logic

Responsiveness to Donors

A project earns 15 points when the project leader submits a project report. Visitor postcards and 3rd party project evaluations also count as a report for search ranking purposes.

Starting 90 days after the date of the most recent project update, the project loses one point every week until a new update is provided to donors.

If a project has sent in updates in the past, the lowest possible score is 3. If a project has never sent in a report, these points tick down to the lowest possible score of 0.

If a project leader has submitted multiple reports in the past 90 days, we do not award extra points immediately. See the next rule.  

Consistency of reporting: We also check if a project has published a report in the previous quarter of the year (between 90 and 180 days ago), and award them 1 bonus point per update. This means that extra reports can improve a project's search ranking, but not immediately. This 90-day delay makes it harder for a project leader to push their ranking up overnight by sending dozens of superfluous reports.

As a last step, we divide the reporting score by 16.

Why 16?

We assume that a good project reports every 3 months, and must have reported in the past two quarters to receive a full score. So having 15 points for the most recent update plus 1 point for that update 3 months ealier, divided by 16 gives the project a score of 1. For new projects (less than 90 days old) we divide by 15, because they have no previous quarter in which that could have reported.

Scores can range from 0 to about 1.3.

Donors 20%

Calculation: Number of donors that gave to a project / largest number of donors that gave to a project from among all ranked projects.

We divide the donors by the maximum number of donors any project has attracted on GlobalGiving.

Scores range from 0 to 1.

Volume Raised 20%

Calculation: dollars (or euros, pounds in the UK) raised by the project so far / dollars raised by the top project on globalgiving.

The more money a project has raised, the more attractive it is to donors looking for a project to support. Unfortunately, this is the hardest component to change. Many of the top projects (by dollars raised) are actually Funds, but we can't do anything about that. Funds and Projects must appear on the same list of results. Instead, we give project leaders control over their closeness to goal. See below.

Scores range from 0 to 1.

Closeness to Goal 20%

Literally: dollars raised / project's funding goal

GlobalGiving has projects of all sizes, from $1,000 to $2,000,000. But in reality, individuals searching for a project are more likely to be looking for a smaller project to which they can make a significant contribution. The maximum credit card donation is $10,000 online, so we present projects that have raised a larger fraction of their goal ahead of others.

Scores range from 0 (no money) to 1 (completely funded).

New Project Bonus

Because new projects start with no donors and no money, we boost their ranking for the first three months by assigning them 15 points. However, bnlike report points, the project looses all of these points exactly 90 days after it first became visible on the website. Project leaders can avoid falling in their ranking by submitting a project report before the 90-day introductory period ends.

Also - new projects can submit reports during the introductory 90 day period and immediately receive a 1 point bonus per report added to their score. [Older projects receive this bonus, but only on the previous quarter's updates. We thought, since these projects are new, it was unfair not to give them a comparable bonus to that of older projects.]


If you have additional questions, contact Marc Maxson on the about us page.

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