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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.

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Monday, August 6, 2018

Which Charities Should I Donate To?


Did you know there are roughly 1.5 million charities in the United States today? You want to do good and support the causes you care about, but with that many organizations how do you know which ones to donate to?

Charity Navigator is here to help! We offer free charity evaluations and complementary tips and advice to help you find the right charity and give confidently.

Still not sure how to get started? Here’s what we recommend…



There’s a good chance that when you open your mailbox later today you’ll find at least one charity solicitation. It’ll include a letter from an organization telling you of their critical work on an important issue and asking for your support. It all sounds good, but you receive a new letter almost every day and have finite charitable funds. How do you know which charities to support?

Charity Navigator provides a number of excellent resources to help you cull through your mail stack to find organizations that align with your interests and that are fiscally efficient and transparent.

You can use our Advanced Search Tool to quickly look up an organization by its name, state, overall rating, budget, cause area or keyword. 

Once you find the organization you’re looking for, simply click on their name to access their rating profile. You can view information about their financial health and accountability and transparency scores, their mission, their impact (if a report is available), and so much more. Millions of donors every year rely on this information to help them data-driven giving decisions. That's why Charity Navigator is recognized as America's largest indepdent charity evaluator.

Don’t have a stack of mail, or just looking to find an organization on your own? No problem!

We always recommend donors begin their charitable giving with a plan. It should include a list of the causes you’re most passionate about, your budget, and your timeline.

Once you’ve created a list of your top causes, use our Discover feature to explore organizations working on those issues. You can browse by cause area and category, and narrow your search by overall rating, budget, geographic focus, and location.

Use the information provided in the charities’ ratings profiles, as well as on their websites to determine which charities best suit your interests. For example, if you're passionate about environmental conservation in your region you'll want to find a charity working in your area and not on the other side of the country. Or, if you're most interested in helping homeless cats, a dog shelter might not be the best fit for you.

After you’ve found the organizations you want to support, divvy up your budget and determine your timeline for donating to them. How much will each organization receive, and will you make your gifts monthly, quarterly, or annually?

Before you give, take a look at our questions to ask before donating. They’re a great way to establish a relationship with an organization. This will allow you to look at your donations as investments in their work.

We want to hear from you!
Got a favorite charity? How did you hear about them and how long have you been supporting their work?

Another great resource:
Your Guide to Donating on a Limited Budget

Written by Ashley Post, Communications Manager at Charity Navigator.

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