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People donate to charities for all sorts of reasons. When we find a cause that is near and dear to our hearts or discover a situation that we feel strongly about, it’s natural to want to help.

Worthy charitable organizations seek to tackle the most difficult issues on the planet. There are many problems in our world, and many of them will often only be confronted effectively by the best charities to donate to.

To make sure that your donation counts and provides the funding needed to support these causes, you need to do some research.

Luckily, we’ve already done it for you!

Top 10 Charitable Organizations - First Look

  1. Charity aggregator system - Do Good Points
  2. Donate via coupons & vouchers - One World To Give
  3. Support charity, win prizes - Omaze
  4. Help vulnerable children - Kids Alive International
  5. Reduce poverty - Robin Hood Foundation
  6. Cancer research - Mario Lemieux Foundation
  7. Support service dogs - NEADS World Class Service Dogs
  8. Disaster response - Convoy Of Hope
  9. Help provide Dialysis - The American Kidney Fund
  10. Support US troops - National Veterans Foundation

Best Charities in the US, Reviewed

Within the framework of charitable giving, there are many different causes to pursue.

Some charities benefit children’s causes or address other issues like world peace, hunger, and health. Still, others promote and sustain the education of vulnerable groups throughout the world.

The charities you may consider are as diverse as the problems they seek to address. Let’s look at 10 of the best charities to give to:

1. Do Good Points - A Charity Aggregator

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Do Good Points is an information aggregator for social causes. Each of the nonprofits that are curated for their site aligns with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

By interacting with the Do Good Points platform in the course of your charitable actions, you can earn rewards points that are redeemable towards a donation to a charity of your choice.

Do Good Points believe that this incentive program is a more effective giving model that promises more impact through greater Return on Giving (ROG). This is the first loyalty program to reward you points for doing good.

  • Promising new model for maximum charitable impact
  • Return On Giving (ROG)
  • Separate from nonprofit Do Good Foundation
  • Not all charities are available

2. One World to Give - A Unique Model for Discounts

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The One World To Give model for charitable giving is unique. They compile the best coupons and discounts available in US and Canadian stores through direct relationships with vendors.

Their promotions help them raise funds, and those funds are then used to support charities. A portion of all their proceeds is donated to DirectRelief.org Covid-19 Relief efforts. Direct Relief is a highly-rated charity.

  • Only a fraction of your money gets donated
  • Supports a respected and accountable charity
  • Use discounts to purchase from top merchants

3. Omaze - Support Charities and Win Prizes

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Omaze is a relatively new option for charitable giving. Your donation will support a charity but also earn you a chance at winning prizes and experiences as well.

Omaze believes that the traditional fundraising models are not adequate for the current generation. Instead of stressing that more donated money goes directly to the charitable programs of a given cause, they try to attract more giving overall through their attractive and exciting prize packages.

However, all of the advertising required and the experiences and prizes themselves carry a price tag. So, even though they are successful in raising funds, there is a smaller proportion of money left over for the actual work of the charity.

If you are looking to get more out of your donation than a tax break, check out their prize programs and do some good at the same time.

  • Not a charity
  • Earn a chance to win prizes for donating
  • BBB-Accredited
  • Help a variety of charities

4. Kids Alive International - Helping the Most Vulnerable

Kids Alive International is a Christian ministry focused on rescuing orphans and other at-risk kids around the world. They are faith-based and family-centered, stressing the nurturing power of close relationships and the overall health and well-being of the children they serve.

Among all of the most reputable charities in the US, Kids Alive International stands out as the most transparent, with more than 82% of their expenses going directly to their charitable programs.

  • 94.84% Rating on Charity Navigator
  • Variety of Giving Models
  • Donors invited to serve alongside missionary staff
  • 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, donations are tax-deductible

5. Robin Hood Foundation - Targeting Poverty

The Robin Hood Foundation, based in New York City, partners with a coalition of other nonprofits to battle against poverty.

They have a great variety of programs, from a dedicated 9/11 Relief Fund to transitional housing for at-risk LGBTQ youth to job training and outreach for the homeless.

Many nonprofits exist under the umbrella of the Robin Hood Foundation, and they run the gamut from early childhood and youth programs to education, jobs, and income security.

When you donate through the Robin Hood Foundation, you can give with confidence. They dedicate more than 90% of their expenses directly to charitable programming.

  • Invested over 172 million dollars in non-profits last year alone
  • New York-focused and driven
  • Regular updates to poverty tracker

6. Mario Lemieux Foundation - Cancer Research and Family Support

You may remember Mario Lemieux for his exploits as an ice hockey player. When he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease in the early 1990s, he started his foundation to assist other cancer sufferers and fundraise toward the ultimate goal of finding a cure for cancer.

One of the most accountable and transparent charities you can find, the Mario Lemieux Foundation uses its funding to support patients and their families during their fight against cancer and other challenging medical situations.

Austin’s Playrooms is an offshoot of the Mario Lemieux Foundation. When the Lemieux family was spending a lot of time in the hospital visiting their premature son Austin, they realized there was nothing in the hospital designed to engage their other children.

So they developed a concept of cheerful, fun playrooms just for kids located within hospitals. Patients and visitors alike can relax, play, and heal in a safe, kid-friendly, and fun environment. Almost two million children have benefited from the 38 Austin’s Playrooms in the US. And, Austin himself is all grown up and healthy.

  • 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, donations are tax-deductible
  • Patient-focused, family-supporting
  • Highly rated for accountability and financials

7. NEADS World Class Service Dogs - Canine Companionship

Established in 1976 as the National Education for Assistance Dog Services and Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans, NEADS is a pioneer and a leader in the training of service dogs. They provide service dogs to individuals who are deaf, struggling with physical disabilities, and also veterans suffering from PTSD.

They also pair their service dogs with children with autism to try and enhance their confidence and socialization skills through companionship with a canine friend. Their service dogs are also integrated into professional and congregate therapeutic settings in schools, courts, hospitals, and ministries.

  • 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, donations are tax-deductible
  • Oldest continuing Hearing Dog program in the USA
  • Efficient fundraising
  • Proven as an accountable charity

8. Convoy of Hope - Poised to Respond

Convoy of Hope is a faith-based charity founded in 1994. They are a nonprofit that works in partnership with governments, businesses, religious organizations, and others to feed the world, with a focus on hungry children.

They spent more than $85 million in the most recent fiscal year developing international communities to fight hunger and in food insecure communities around the world.

For example, in addition to feeding hundreds of thousands of children, Convoy of Hope funded an agricultural initiative in 2016 that saw 10,000 people trained in how to grow food.

They are active in direct-giving and community development, taking action around the world. In 2012, Convoy of Hope reached the benchmark of serving 50 million people around the world.

  • Disaster Response
  • Fighting food insecurity
  • Distributed more than 200 meals during COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Sustainable initiatives to promote community fulfillment

9. The American Kidney Fund - High Impact

The American Kidney Fund leads the way in indirect financial support for kidney dialysis patients across the United States. The costs of dialysis treatment can be staggering, but for those with kidney failure, those treatments are life-sustaining.

In addition to providing direct support to nearly 100,000 Americans needing dialysis treatment, they also fund efforts to fight kidney disease through a variety of educational and outreach programs.

More than 97% of their expenses go directly to their charitable programs. So, you can be confident that the money you donate will go to supporting the fight against kidney disease, both on the individual and national level.

  • High ratio of charitable programming to other expenses
  • Established, efficient charity
  • 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, donations are tax-deductible

10. National Veterans Foundation - A Patriotic Cause

Each year, thousands of veterans commit suicide in the US, and research has shown that veterans, on the whole, are significantly more likely to commit suicide than those in the general population.

The NVF manages the nation’s only toll-free helpline for veterans and their families who need crisis management, referrals for expert help, and general information.

Their outreach services help veterans and their families cope with acute issues. However, they also provide essential resources like food, transportation, clothing, and employment to at-risk veterans. They also promote awareness of the needs of all America’s veterans.

They are highly rated, and their founder was a veteran himself, serving during the Vietnam War.

  • 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, donations are tax-deductible
  • Serving those who served
  • Acute outreach and crisis management
  • Sustained giving
  • Spotlighting the needs of veterans

Best Charities: Honorable Mentions

If you haven’t found a charity that inspires you, here are some others to consider.

  1. Mental Health America - Mental Health America is committed to promoting mental health as a part of wellness.
  2. World Resources Institute - The World Resources Institute is focused on developing solutions to protect people and nature in over 50 countries.
  3. International Rescue Committee - The International Rescue Committee serves people whose lives have been thrown into chaos by war and natural disasters.
  4. Prevent Child Abuse America - Prevent Child Abuse America is committed to preventing child abuse before it happens through proactive programs and mental health support.
  5. Ronald Mcdonald House Charities - Ronald McDonald House Charities support families around the world, helping them obtain needed medical care, particularly in underserved communities.
  6. Helen Keller International - The Helen Keller International charity provides vision care and works to prevent blindness and diabetes around the world.

Charitable Giving FAQs

We compiled a list of frequent questions that donors have about which charities are best and how to research them.

What Matters the Most To You?

When trying to decide which charity deserves your support, you may be well-served by thinking about the causes that matter most to you.

Oftentimes the easiest way to determine which sort of charity to donate to is by doing some reflection. Is there a cause or an issue or a problem in the world that you wish you could solve?

Even a small financial contribution can do a world of good if you’re donating to effective charities. In the world of charitable giving, effectiveness is measured in how far every dollar donated goes, the cost-effectiveness of the charity and its programs, and its track record.

But when it comes time to put your money where your mouth is and actually make a donation, it is very easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of charitable causes seeking your help.

With the explosion of crowdfunding sites and other online giving platforms, as well as some of the more familiar names and charitable giving, it is very easy to inadvertently donate to a non-reputable charity.

Doing your research is an essential step you must take before opening your wallet. By doing so, you can feel confident that your donation will go to a group that deserves your support and will make the most of your donation.

What Makes a Highly Effective Charity?

Charities are all different, and there’s a lot of variation in what percentage of the money they raise is allocated explicitly for their programs as opposed to their administrative costs or salaried expenses. Some charities work with the private sector to defray costs.

But that might mean that there is some ambiguity in the tax-deductible status of your donations. And, some charities are not good stewards of the money they receive. For instance, some charities spend that sums of money on executive salaries while their programming receives far less money.

By educating yourself about more than just a charity’s name or their flashy new incentives, you can make sure that they deliver on their promises and feel confident that your financial support is going somewhere it will make a difference.

Are There Research Tools to Find the Best Charities?

There are some tools available to help you determine which charities are best at not only raising money but are affecting giving avenues for achieving results. Some of the top tools for identifying highly effective charities include:

What Makes a Good Charity?

These tools enable you to do some vetting in order to determine which charities deserve your money. For instance, the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance holds charities to 20 standards.

Those standards include a requirement that a charity spends less than 35% of its total contributions on fundraising or other activities. Highly effective charities spend a majority of their money directly on their charitable programs. The BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance sets 65% as standard.

By finding a consensus among these various charitable charity watchdogs, you can narrow down your list of potential organizations that might receive your donation to those recommended charities.

Are There Charities to Avoid?

Fundraising for charitable organizations is big business. With so much money involved, sometimes unscrupulous individuals and organizations seek to take advantage of people’s willingness to try and help.

In order to make a real difference, your donation and support are best channeled to the organizations that make the most of the money they raise.

Whether you are seeking to aid service members to promote reproductive health in sub-Saharan Africa, raise money for mental illness awareness, or help the world’s poorest people, it is likely that there is someone looking to skim donations off the top in the interest of self-promotion and profit.

The answer to the question is yes, absolutely there are charities to avoid. Rather than naming names, we will leave it to you to do most of the research.

The Best Charities To Donate To - Our Top Choice

The best charity to give to is the one that makes you feel the most pride and satisfaction while seeing tangible results for those in need. For us, Do Good Points is the best charity to donate to thanks to its unique ROG model that can help to maximize effectiveness.

We would feel comfortable donating to any charity we have discussed. Still, the Mario Lemieux Foundation and the Robin Hood Foundation are both highly respected and absolutely worthy of your consideration as well.

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