3/5/10

Choosing the Best Charities

Yes, times are tough, extra cash is scarce and stress takes a daily bite of our peace of mind. Even beyond our shores, every country struggles to meet the needs of fellow citizens. Like many, I grew up thinking our government would provide all the help needed by our most honored - our veterans. Not so, as we now realize. Government can only do so much. And frankly, we've seen waste and mismanagement at all levels.

Since we care deeply about those who have devoted a significant part of their lives to us, how can we not offer some portion of our time - and dollars - to help make the veterans of America feel appreciated and cared for? And yet, with scams popping up after every war, earthquake or disaster, how do we know which charities are worthwhile? How can we be certain our money is directed to where its most needed, rather than to overpaid officials or undeserving parties?

One good way also requires very little time - and is free. A quick online visit to an independent rating service such as www.charitynavigator.org tells you where a charity ranks in its category (diseases, fund raisers, veterans, etc). You will also see charity top ten lists such as "super-sized; celebrity related; inefficient; worth watching; and, so on). Trusted for years, Charity Navigator gets you to where you can find the most efficient charities, review financial data, see how money is spent and even look at executive salaries.

Since I was speaking of veterans, two of my three favorite charities match that category - and all three are top-rated in the four-star category: Special Operations Warrior Foundation; Homes for our Troops; and, City Harvest. Look up your choices or discover new ones. Because you have your own preferences, I urge you to visit www.charitynavigator.org You will find all the research and info you need to make intelligent decisions. Plus, it will help you discover if your current charity donations are being put to use as you would expect. If you wish, you can set up your own list on the site to follow your preferred charities or even have donations directed to any charity you choose, safely and simply. www.charitynavigator.org is a fascinating sit you will want to revisit often.

1 comment:

Paul said...

I am contemplating sidestepping most "conventional" charities and concentrating on my own "special interests." (Definition of "special interest," as heard on the radio once: "something I'm into and you're not." Railroad preservation and music-oriented things come to mind.One reply to one of themainstream charaties and I get 3-4 mailings a week from the "top 20" of them. I no longer support two of them on principle - they're spending too much money raising it.

And so it goes....