The holiday season is a time for giving, and many charities and nonprofits rely heavily on donations made during this period. Don’t worry if you haven’t had the chance or the cash until now—countless people need help and every dollar makes a difference.
This need extends beyond our borders and around the world. In addition to the destruction wrought by Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and Hurricane Maria, there are droughts and famine in Africa, mass migrations as a result of an unending civil war in Syria, earthquakes in Mexico, and flooding in Indonesia. There are simply so many in need of our help.
Assistance is required at the local level as well—beds for the homeless, food for the poor, winter clothing for children and adults alike. While you may not have a lot to give, you can still make a difference.
Finding Reputable Charities—and the Websites that Can Help
If you’re going to make the effort to donate to a charity, you should also know how your gift is going to be used and whether or not the charity has a solid reputation. The following websites are agencies who monitor charitable organizations and report on the effectiveness of their work. To sure that your gift is best-utilized, look for charities that have little to no overhead.
Charity Navigator – “Founded in 2001, Charity Navigator has become the nation’s largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities. In our quest to help donors, our team of professional analysts has examined tens of thousands of non-profit financial documents. We’ve used this knowledge to develop an unbiased, objective, numbers-based rating system to assess over 8,000 of America’s best-known and some lesser known, but worthy, charities.”
Charity Watch – “Founded 25 years ago as the American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP)—is America’s most independent, assertive charity watchdog. CharityWatch does not merely repeat what a charity reports using simplistic or automated formulas. We dive deep to let you know how efficiently a charity will use your donation to fund the programs you want to support. CharityWatch exposes nonprofit abuses and advocates for your interests as a donor.”
Global Impact – Helping People in Need – “Established in 1956, Global Impact provides organizations and donors with effective ways to give to causes, regions and crises throughout the world.”
Popular Charities for 2017 Holiday Donations
This list contains links to some of the most popular charities. When you give, don’t forget to ask for a receipt for your contribution—you should be able to deduct your donation when you file your 2017 Federal income tax.
- American Cancer Society
- Action Against Hunger
- American Heart Association
- Americares Foundation
- American Red Cross
- Boy & Girls Club of America
- Catholic Charities USA
- ChildFund International
- Compassion International
- Direct Relief
- Doctors Without Borders
- Feeding America
- Food for the Poor
- Goodwill Industries International
- Habitat for Humanity
- Make-a-Wish Foundation of America
- Salvation Army
- Task Force for Global Health
- The International Committee of the Red Cross
- The United Way
- St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
- UNICEF USA
- World Vision
- Wounded Warrior Project
- YMCA of the USA
Lastly, if you’re unable to donate money, consider giving some of your time by volunteering at a local homeless shelter or food pantry.