Welcome to Charity Navigator's Blog!

The team from Charity Navigator, the nation's largest independent charity evaluator and leading donor advocate, shares their thoughts on emerging nonprofit-sector issues and offers tips to better inform your intelligent giving decisions.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

URGENT – 11:59 deadline tonight!

If you want to deduct your charitable contributions on your 2015 tax return, then you have until midnight tonight to make your donations.

What you haven't donated yet? Never fear, online giving at Charity Navigator offers the luxury of waiting until the last minute and the convenience of maintaining your giving records in one place, making your life easier at tax time.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Key Stories in Philanthropy in 2015

Every year contains many important stories and moments in the philanthropic sector, and 2015 was no exception. Here are just a few of the stories that caught our attention this year:
  • Charities Respond to World Crises: The social sector responded to tragedy with compassion, acting to help around the globe on a number of issues, including the Syrian refugee crisis, the Yemen humanitarian crisis, and the Nepal earthquake.
  • Charity Cancer Scam: In an unprecedented collaboration, the FTC and 58 law enforcement agencies put a web of sham cancer charities out of business
  • CN Giving Basket: Charity Navigator launched the Giving Basket, a new tool to streamline giving by seamlessly integrating the process into our website.
Let us know if anything in philanthropy stood out for you this year!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Gifts To Charity Can Still Pay Off On Your 2015 Taxes If You Hurry

Your gifts to charity are an expression of your generosity and commitment to solving the problems that threaten our society. Even if your intentions are 100% altruistic, Uncle Sam still rewards your charitable endeavors by making these gifts tax-deductible. But remember you must make your donation by December 31 to claim the tax deduction on your 2015 taxes. 

You can do that, up to the last minute of the year, on Charity Navigator's site using the new Giving Basket

For more information, be sure to check out our Holiday Giving Guide (which is full of tips for making informed year-end gifts) and our article on the tax benefits of giving.  

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Charity Navigator's Year in Review

It's been another excellent year here at Charity Navigator! These are a few of the highlights of 2015 from America's Largest Charity Evaluator:

  • In August, we were delighted to announce the appointment of new president and chief executive officer Michael Thatcher. Mr. Thatcher joins Charity Navigator with a successful track record as a technology executive, a reputation for achieving desired results, and a passion for using technology as a tool to advance social good.
  • Including Michael, we increased our overall staff size by 36%.
  • We added more functionality to the My Charities feature of the site by including personalized alerts for ratings changes of the charities you follow.
  • In October, we launched the all-new Giving Basket, a safe, easy and convenient way to support any charity, all from Charity Navigator's website.
  • In 2015, we updated ratings for over 8,000 charities, and we collected Results Reporting data for 3,000 charities.
  • We had nearly 20% more visits to our site this year, for a record number of 8.8 million!
Please help us celebrate a successful 2015 and an even stronger 2016 by Donating Today to help us continue to guide intelligent giving!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Your giving goals, our research team

Vetting charities is our full-time job.  We do this because we know most donors are simply too busy with their work, family and other responsibilities to take on the daunting task of digging through and analyzing nonprofit data. So, our staff works hard, year-round to ensure you have access to the most current data available on thousands of charities

If our research has been useful for you, please give now to keep our services available to all donors. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Our Gift To You

We know that many donors are making important decisions about which charities to support right now. In fact, many charities report that they get as much as 1/2 of their annual gifts from individuals between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve. All this giving makes it critical that donors have access to the most current data available. We have been working diligently these last few weeks to ensure we help generous donors, like you, make informed giving decisions. The result of all that effort is our holiday gift to you - the release of over 1,000 updated ratings today

We wish you nothing but the best in all of your charitable endeavors this holiday season.

Happy Holidays from Charity Navigator!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Choosing a Charity: Syrian Refugee Crisis

An aerial view of the Za'atri Refugee Camp in Jordan.
Photo credit: U.S. Department of State

The Syrian conflict, now entering its fifth year, represents the largest displacement crisis in the world, with millions of people forced out of their homes. Many charities have responded, however, the crisis is complex, with several different populations requiring various forms of assistance. Syrian refugees fall broadly into three categories requiring aid: people within Syria or in the nearby countries, refugees in Europe, and refugees who have begun the resettlement process. When choosing an organization to support, it is important to understand which population they assist, as well as the form of aid provided. You can find a list of tips for donating in times of crisis on our website, but we have also here compiled a guide to the 4-star organizations responding to the Syrian crisis.

If you are looking to help people remaining in Syria or who have fled to neighboring countries, the following 4-star organizations have ongoing programs to help those populations: the American Refugee Committee, GlobalGiving, International Medical Corps, the International Rescue Committee, Medical Teams International, Mercy-USA for Aid and Development, Save the Children, and United States Fund for UNICEF. Many of these organizations focus on providing people with shelter, medical care, and basic needs, including access to hygiene and clean water.

To assist the refugees in Europe with the provision of basic needs, look to GlobalGiving, International Medical Corps, Medical Teams International, Samaritan’s Purse, Save the Children, and United States Fund for UNICEF. Many of these programs help not just Syrian refugees, but those coming from North Africa and other Middle Eastern countries as well. They focus on providing medical care and basic needs, including ensuring refugees are properly outfitted for the winter months. Several of these organizations also undertake advocacy work with local governments, whether helping to support local institutions or asking for governments to do more to help the refugees arriving at their borders.

Some refugees have already been resettled by the United Nations, and these people face their own unique challenges adapting to their new homes. GlobalGiving highlights a few organizations working with these refugees to adjust to life in a new place, providing them with the tools and resources necessary to make the transition. The International Rescue Committee undertakes similar work, helping refugees navigate the registration and resettlement process, including understanding their rights, and helping them establish lives in their new countries. They have assisted in settling some Syrian refugees here in the United States, and allow donors to contribute to one of the local offices helping refugees. No matter which organization you choose to support, we encourage you to visit their website and understand their programs and efforts, as well as following up on your donation has helped.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Best Gift Ever!

Stop stressing over what to get everyone on that long list and spread some joy by donating to a highly-rated charity in honor of someone you love. 

Go to our site now and pick out a charity to support that will make you and the person you are giving in honor of, feel good this holiday season. Then when you donate via our Giving Basket just type in the name of the person you want to recognize and include their email so they'll be immediately notified of the donation you made in their name. 

What could be a more meaningful holiday gift than that?

Friday, December 11, 2015

Help Us Finish 2015 Strong!

This month, we are asking you to support Charity Navigator.

In 2015, we helped millions of donors, like you, give smarter 

by providing more trusted charity ratings and new tools. Like the charities that you vet on our site, Charity Navigator relies on your support to do our work.

If all of our users gave just $3 today, 
we'd be able to end our December appeal tomorrow.

Take a look at our Year in Review below
and Donate Today to help us make 2016 even better. Thank you!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Four Star Holiday Tribute Programs

Mission: The Houston Zoo provides a fun, unique, and inspirational experience fostering appreciation, knowledge, and care for the natural world.

The GiftThe Houston Zoo let’s donor give the gift of animal adoption. Depending on your donation level, your recipient can receive zoo tickets, an animal plush, an adoption certificate, and more.

Mission: The Air Force Enlisted Village (AFEV) is a nonprofit organization whose core mission is to provide a safe, secure home for surviving spouses of retired enlisted U.S. Airmen.

The Gift: Through the Brick Paver Form, you can purchase a brick to add to the Garden of Hope. Depending on the size brick you choose, you can enter three to five lines of text. Air Force Enlisted Village will send an acknowledgment letter to your honoree.

Mission: Kiva's mission is to connect people though lending to alleviate poverty.

 The GiftKiva gives donor the option of purchasing gift cards. This allows the recipient allocate the gift to an individual of their choice. When the individual repays the loan, your gift recipient can reuse these funds as many times as they’d like.

Mission: ACF International works to save the lives of malnourished children while providing communities with access to safe water and sustainable solutions to hunger.

The GiftAction Against Hunger sends an e-card to the individual your donation is dedicated to.

Mission: The IRC’s mission is to respond to the world’s worst crises and help people to survive and rebuild their lives.

The Gift: International Rescue Committee will send a card via email or mail to the individual you dedicate your donation to.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Holiday Giving Guide: Your Ticket to Supporting Great Charities

At Charity Navigator, we urge all donors to take a closer look at the charities seeking their support this holiday season. To aid your efforts, we've created this Holiday Giving Guide to help you ensure that your holiday donations best reach their intended good causes.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Remembering our Troops during the Holiday Season

As of November 15th, there are approximately 1.1 million American troops deployed worldwide, with nearly 175,000 troops stationed in non US territories. The holiday season makes being away from home particularly difficult, whether you’re on the other side of the United States or across the globe. Numerous charities work to let our soldiers know that America is conscious of and grateful for their sacrifices.

Operation Support Our Troops - America sends care packages throughout the year to troops. During the holidays donors can choose to send either a standard package or stockings to soldiers. The stocking option includes ornaments, a Christmas card, and holiday candy.

Operation Gratitude has sent over 1.3 million care packages to American troops since its inception. Through Operation Gratitude, donors can send personal letters to troops, veterans, new recruits, and wounded warriors. Donors can also send clothing, hygiene items, food, and games, among other items.

During the holiday season and beyond, these 4 star charities help translate your thoughts of gratitude into heartfelt gifts to our troops.

Interested in supporting troops in other ways? Use our advanced search tool to get started.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Holiday Giving Checklist

Charity Navigator Holiday Infographic
To embed this infographic on your site copy/paste the code below:

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Giving Thanks and Giving Back

Thanksgiving is the time of year that we all think about what we have to be grateful for and consider how we can help those who are less fortunate. If you feel inspired to give back, then Charity Navigator can help you find a charity to support. Check out our Advanced Search to find a charity that matches your philanthropic passions and give via our Giving Basket now.

In the Words of a 4-Star Charity

The following is a message from the CEO of a 4-star charity regarding the importance of rating highly on Charity Navigator.

"As a charity that participates in #GivingTuesday, The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention knows firsthand the value of a good rating on Charity Navigator. There are so many worthy causes in need of support, donors know they can turn to a trusted institution like Charity Navigator to help them evaluate the organizations.

People who participate in #GivingTuesday don’t have the time to research all the non-profits who ask them for support, so Charity Navigator helps donors identify organizations who invest their donations wisely. 

We have found that our high Charity Navigator rating sets us apart and helps us stand out as a leader among many worthwhile causes." ~ Bob Gebbia, CEO of The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

You can give to this charity on #GivingTuesday on Charity Navigator via our new Giving Basket. Learn more now.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Best #UNSelfie Challenge Yet!

One of Charity Navigator's users just sent us this photo to show us how he and his wife are celebrating #GivingTuesday

Basically, they are challenging their Facebook friends to support a Health, Human Services or Animal Welfare 4-star charity. If they do, he'll match their donation --- up to $10,000! 

Yes, this couple is to be commended for their generosity! But what impresses me most is that they are also giving the gift of informed giving to their friends and family. Not only are they helping to ensure that their combined donations go to worthy charities, but they're also helping the people they care about learn what intelligent giving is all about. 

Next Tuesday is #GivingTuesday!

What is #GivingTuesday exactly? It’s a national movement during the holidays dedicated to charitable giving, similar to how Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become days that are synonymous with holiday shopping. The goal of #GivingTuesday is to encourage people everywhere including retailers, charities, online organizations, community centers, individuals and families to come together with one common purpose -- to help others and incentivize ways to give more, give smarter (Charity Navigator is here to help you vet charities), and celebrate the great American spirit of generosity through charitable contributions and volunteerism.

Find out more about #GivingTuesday and how Charity Navigator can help you give smarter!

Friday, November 20, 2015

National Homeless Awareness Month: Homes for Those who Protect Ours

It's a fortuitous coincidence that Veteran's Day takes place during National Homeless Awareness Month.  According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, veterans are twice as likely as other Americans to become chronically homeless.  In 2014, that meant that between 529,000 and 840,000 veterans were homeless. Many factors contribute to this reality, such as lack of income, combat-related health issues and disabilities, and lack of services.

There are a large number of organizations dedicated to serving veterans in various capacities. To determine whether or not a charity is specifically working to alleviate veteran homelessness, be sure to review their programs. Homes for Our Troops  builds accessible homes for severely injured veterans, allowing them to focus on their recovery. The New England Center and Home for Veterans (NECHV) houses approximately 350 veterans and offers an array services to help them successfully reintegrate into independent living.

Some veterans organizations help alleviate homelessness by preventing its occurrence. The Semper Fi Fund (SFF) provides financial assistance to veterans who have fallen behind on their housing payments to keep them out of homelessness. The USO Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore provides emergency housing to military service members for up to 60 days at no cost to the beneficiary, providing military families with the opportunity to regroup and transition back into independent living.

All of the above organizations are serving homeless veterans in exemplary ways. When deciding to give to this cause, or others, be sure to look at the programs and services that a charity provides! 

Interested in volunteering with these organizations? Check out our Guide to Volunteering

Has This Ever Happened To You?

You make a small donation to one charity and suddenly tons of other charities are sending you solicitations. That's because the first charity shared/traded/sold your contact information with other charities.

One way to prevent that is by giving anonymously to any charity via Charity Navigator's new Giving Basket.

Get started giving anonymously now!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day 2015: Honoring All Who Served

Veterans Day, November 11th, is an annual celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism and sacrifice. And there many ways in which you can commemorate this holiday such as:

Help Set the Table for Those in Need

If the holidays have inspired you to help the less fortunate, then review our tips on how to identify a well-run charity that provides holiday meals.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Charity Navigator Helps Donors Keep Track of All their Donations

Charitable giving not only makes a difference to those in need, but it can also save you money at tax time - that is if you have the proper documentation. Use Charity Navigator's new Giving Basket to keep a record of all your donations in one place, thereby making it a snap to get the maximum deductions you deserve.

Visit Charity Navigator's site to learn more about the documentation required to deduct your charitable giving. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Car Donations: the Charity, You, and the Third Party

Non-monetary gifts are a common route donors take to give to the charities they support. Donations of food and clothing to various charities are relatively typical, but what about vehicles? Each year, a large amount of Americans choose to donate their cars, boats, and RVs to charity. At surface level, it seems like a pretty good idea, especially if your vehicle isn’t running. You call the charity, they tow it away, and your work is done.      

Unlike a donation of food or clothing, you and the charity are not usually the only parties involved in processing car donations. An overwhelming majority of charities who accept vehicle donations process these gifts through a third party for a fee. Whether or not a third party is involved is not always clear to the donor throughout the transaction process. It is often challenging to find out what payment the third party receives for selling the vehicle. That amount can be shockingly large.

In past years, if you wanted to donate your car to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, you would do so through Wheels for Wishes, an organization that has recently been placed on CN’s Watchlist. Wheels for Wishes is an alternate business name of the Car Donation Foundation, which recently underwent investigation by Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson. According to the report released by Attorney General Swanson, the Car Donation Foundation gives between 18-22% of its gross revenue to charitable causes. Its gross revenue over the past four years totaled over $108 million.

Make-A-Wish Foundation has since entered into contract with a new organization that guarantees at least 70% of the value of vehicle will go directly to the charity you donate. 70% is a fantastic improvement from 18-22%, but it still might be unsettling to donors who believed that their entire donation is going to charity.

If your primary motivation in donating a car, boat, or RV is charitable giving, you have two solid options. The first is to sell the car yourself and donate the profit. This is the only way to be truly certain that your entire donation is going to the organization of your choice. The second is to call organizations in your area and ask them if they could use a car. Often times, charities need cars for transportation and will use it for charitable work instead of selling it.

Check out our Guide to Donating Your Car for more information.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Getting the most out of your donation dollar

Believe it or not, the year-end charitable giving season is right around the corner. The following TV segment, by Dan Spindle, of ABC15, in Arizona, offers tips for how you can make sure your donations are put to good use. For more detailed tips, consult Charity Navigator's Holiday Giving Checklist.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Charity Navigator's API Partner: Add Mobile To Your Fundraising Arsenal

Charity Footprints, one of our API partners, is enabling several worthy causes capitalize on the footprints mobile app for raising funds while encouraging individuals to lead a healthy lifestyle. Charity Footprints users have run over 11,000 miles and supported more than 150 non-profits in the process.

501c3 organizations can register free of charge here: Non-Profit Registration, and then set-up their own virtual walkathon events.

Charitable Response to Hurricane Patricia

Hurricane Patricia might turn out to be the strongest hurricane in history. See which charities are preparing to respond to this potentially catastrophic disaster and get tips on how to make an informed giving decision.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Cause versus Charity: Make Sure You Know the Difference!

Through social media, we encounter an excess of causes.  When your friend on Facebook posts, “donate to this humanitarian aid fund because thousands of Syrian refugees are suffering,” it tugs at your heart strings and you undoubtedly want to give. But from that appeal, do you have any idea which organization your donation would go to or what they would be doing to help Syrian refugees?

Cause and charity are not one in the same. Cause refers to a narrowly defined area of charitable activity, such as the Syrian Crisis. Many charities are working to improve the conditions surrounding the Crisis, but are doing so in different ways. Oftentimes as donors, we’re so motivated by our passion behind a cause that we skip the most important step: seeing what the charity is doing.

Charities offer solutions to the issues that causes combat. After deciding to respond to a cause, don’t skip the step of finding a charity whose solution to the problem you are behind. Concerning the Syrian Crisis, there’s a variety of work being done by different organizations. The American Refugee Committee, for example, is focusing its efforts on making sure refugees have their basic needs, like shelter, access to clean water, and healthcare met. Islamic Relief USA runs numerous programs specifically aimed at helping Syria refugees, from providing psychosocial support to Syrian refugee children in Lebanon to providing medical care for Syrian refugees in Jordan. 

All of the above organizations are addressing the Syrian Crisis in important, vital ways. When deciding to give to this cause, or others, be sure to look into how specific charities are addressing the cause you want to support!

Check out our Syrian Crisis Hot Topic to learn more.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Happy Birthday, Pat!

At the turn of the century, Pat and Marion Dugan were interested in significantly increasing their charitable/social investing. To assure their donations were going to healthy organizations, Pat and Marion could have hired a team of personal financial advisors to help them. Fortunately, they didn’t forget all of the donors who were also trying identify the most financially healthy organizations in the United States.

In 2001, Pat and Marion Dugan founded Charity Navigator. They envisioned an unbiased and transparent source of information that would assist American donors in finding a financially healthy and transparent charity to support.  In combatting fraudulence in the nonprofit sector, Pat created his own cause:  Giving everyday donors information, so they can make informed giving decisions.

Fourteen years later, that information remains available and free to all through Charity Navigator’s website. Today, Pat’s 80th birthday, we wanted to take a moment to shout “Happy Birthday” to Pat Dugan, our co-founder, a visionary, and all around great guy.
Happy birthday, Pat!

Want to hear from Pat directly? Click here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

2014 Patterns in Giving

Photo credit: HM Revenue & Customs
Earlier in 2015, fundraising expert Penelope Burk released the 2014 Burk Donor Survey, which spoke to 23,000 donors in the US and Canada to determine how donor giving changed in the year and how donors plan to give in the next 12 months. In 2014, donors gave over $335 billion, but 40% said they could have given more, including 50% of the youngest age bracket surveyed, those under 35. A majority (55%) of the people surveyed expect to give the same amount in 2015 as they did the previous year, but many donors expect to give more.

Whether giving the same or more than last year, however, donors are giving smarter. Almost three-quarters of donors surveyed indicated they dislike receiving an appreciation gift. Donors receiving such gifts wonder about the cost and thus whether their donation is being spent well by the charity. Over half of donors (57%) stated they spend more time researching organizations before giving.

Charity Navigator is here to help donors in that research. Our website makes it easy to find information about where donation money goes and has tips on how to give more strategically. Not sure where to start? Using our advanced search feature, you can choose from a list of criteria including size, rating, location, and category, allowing you to find a list of charities to match your giving preferences.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

South Carolina Flooding

Recently, heavy rains caused flooding in South Carolina. More than two dozen dams failed or were breached and hundreds of roads and bridges were closed. Although thousands of residents were evacuated, at least 16 people died. The economic cost of this natural disaster is expected to be in the billions of dollars.

Charities have stepped in to help in a variety of ways --- from distributing bottled water and food, to providing shelter to displaced victims. See which ones are responding and consider making a donation now.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Intelligent Giving: Know Where the Money Goes

When selecting a charity to donate to, it’s key to look at where the money’s going. Some breast cancer charities focus on research, some provide medical services, while some educate and advocate. Programs like these are all important to the fight against breast cancer, but it’s imperative to know which type of program (or combination of programs) you want to support this October, and all year round.

When you visit a charity’s profile on Charity Navigator’s website, simply click into the programs tab to see what kinds of programs an organization is running, and how much money  they allocate to those programs. Focusing on breast cancer charities demonstrates how large the variety of programs within a cause area can be.

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, for example, allocates all of its program expenses to research grants.  The Rose provides a variety of direct medical services for women, focusing on both prevention and treatment. The National Breast Cancer Foundation provides diagnostic breast care services (spending 44.1% on this program) and it also pays attention to educational and awareness materials (spending 46.6% on this program). All of these charities have received four star ratings from Charity Navigator, which shows that they exceed industry standards and outperform most breast cancer charities. What’s imperative here is knowing what kinds of programs you want to support.

Our website does this research for you, making it extremely easy for you to give intelligently. Use our Hot Topic, Charities Working to Prevent and Cure Breast Cancer as a starting place to decide which breast cancer charities you want to support!

Thinking about supporting a breast cancer charity by buying that pink ribbon item? Think again.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Yogi Berra's Charitable Work

Monument Park: 5/24/2015

Photo credit: Arturo Pardavila III

Yogi Berra, a former New York Yankee and member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, passed away  on September 22nd at the age of 90. Known for memorable quotes such as “it ain’t over ‘til it’s over,” he spent over half a century living in Montclair, New Jersey, becoming deeply involved with local charity work, including the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center, located on the Montclair State University campus. For many years, Yogi and his late wife, Carmen, hosted a Celebrity Golf Tournament to raise money for the museum which, in addition to being a sports museum, runs sports-based character and leadership development programs for students, partnering with local high schools and their athletes. The Berras explained that they engaged in charity work so “everyone in America can be what they want to be.” 

Before playing professional baseball, an eighteen-year-old Yogi Berra joined the Navy during World War II, eventually serving on a ship supporting the storming of Omaha Beach on D-Day. If you are interested in donating to charity to support our troops in honor of Yogi and his service, please click here to see our article highlighting these organizations.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Help Chile Earthquake Survivors

On September 16, 2015, a powerful, 8.3 magnitude earthquake hit just off the coast of Chile, about 145 miles from Santiago, Chile's largest city. The quake caused a 15-foot tsunami along the Chilean coast and landslides in the hilly areas of the region. As a result, 1 million people have been evacuated and at least eight have died. Initial reports also indicate that many homes and buildings have been damaged and destroyed by the quake, especially in the the city of Illapel. Meanwhile, electricity and cell phone service is out for hundreds of thousands of people.

While several relief charities are monitoring the situation to determine if and how they can help, we are aware of one charity that is already collecting funds. The charity, GlobalGiving, has set up a fund to provide emergency medical aid to Chile. If you are interested in learning more, then we encourage you to review our rating for GlobalGiving and then visit their site for more specifics on how they're helping.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Devastation in Lake County, California: How can you help?

by Brittany Delaney, Associate Program Analyst

With one of the worst droughts in California’s history, some of the worst wildfires are now sweeping the northern part of the state. Thousands of residents have been greatly impacted and are in a state of panic and sorrow wondering what their next steps will be. Where will they sleep? How will they eat? Will they have to rebuild their lives from the ground up? With the drought being one of the main causes for the start of the fires, there have been other negative weather related impacts making the fires spread quickly and aggressively. Dozens of firefighters are working around the clock to contain the fires. There are many local churches and schools that have set up temporary shelters for those who have either lost their homes or who have had to take part in mandatory evacuations.

Luckily, there is one major charity currently taking all donations and directing the funds towards those affected by the aftermath of the Lake County wildfires. Starting from September 14 through September 30, The United Way of the Wine Country is taking all donations made during this time period and helping those affected by the fires. With your help, the devastation and true sadness hovering over these communities might have a chance of being uplifted by the help of others. 

Tips for Giving at Work

Each year, billions of dollars are donated to America’s charities through workplace giving campaigns. Chances are that if you work at a corporation or for the federal government, you’ve had the opportunity to participate in one of these programs. 

While workplace giving was designed to improve America’s charities’ efficiencies, benefits exist for both the employee and participating charity. For the employee, these programs offer the convenience of automatic payroll deductions without losing the tax benefits of charitable giving. Since employers often match employee contributions, workplace giving provides the employee with the opportunity to directly influence their company’s philanthropic endeavors. For the charity, even a small pledge from an employee makes an impact when it is increased by the employer’s matching funds.

If you are considering participating in a workplace giving campaign, then we encourage you to visit our site and review our 6 tips. We offer a detailed and condensed version of our guide.

Friday, September 11, 2015

9/11 Funds

September 11th
On September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked the United States of America killing and injuring thousands. Horrified and compassionate Americans across the country subsequently donated $2.2 billion to various charities that had quickly set up 9/11-related funds. 

Under pressure from the media, politicians and donors, the majority of this money was spent within a year of the attacks. However, some charities wisely withheld a portion of the money they raised so that they could continue to fund memorial projects, mental and health-care services, and scholarships into the future. At least two highly-rated charities, Scholarship America and GlobalGiving, continue to provide 9/11-related programs and services.   

Facts related to 9/11:
  • 20% of Americans knew someone hurt or killed on 9/11. 
  • Around 36,000 units of blood were donated to the New York Blood Center, but only 258 were used. 
  • The IRS fast-tracked the approval of 300 new 9/11 related charities. By 2006, 1/3 couldn't be located and 38 had closed. 
  • The fires burned for almost 100 days after the attack. 
  • Around 1,300 corporations and foundations made 9/11 related donations accounting for nearly 40% of all donations. 
  • 2,992 people died in the attacks.