From their website:
America's charities, and more importantly, those they serve, need your support. And, as you can tell when you open your mailbox at this time of the year, they aren’t afraid to ask for it. But your support will do little to improve our world unless we all commit to pursuing responsible and informed philanthropy.
We offer the following 5-step checklist to help you maximize your holiday donations:
- Review last year’s charitable investments: Before making new plans, take a look at the charities you supported last year to find out what they’ve accomplished. You’re not looking for a list of itemized expenses, but instead a progress report. If a charity in your giving portfolio can’t tell you what kind of results they created from your investment, then replace it with one that will.
- Be specific: As you consider which charities to support this year, remember that there are roughly one million of them. That means you don’t have to settle for an organization that isn’t a perfect match for your beliefs and goals. No matter what cause you want to support — whether it is providing humanitarian aid to the Syrian refugees, helping our returning troops find work or finding a cure for a particular disease — there’s a charity out there that matches your intentions. Take the time to find it and confirm (not just assume) it offers the programs and services that match your charitable interests.
- Look under the hood: Before you give to any charity this holiday season, be sure to check that the charity meets these three criteria..
- Examine the charity’s finances: Financially healthy organizations - those that are both financially efficient and sustainable - have greater flexibility and freedom to pursue their charitable mission..
- Ensure the charity is accountable and transparent: Charities that are an open book and that follow good governance practices less likely to engage in unethical or irresponsible activities.
- Look for signs of effectiveness: The charity's ability to bring about long lasting and meaningful change in the world is the key reason for their existence so make sure you find evidence of its impact.
- Donate online: If you want to deduct your charitable contributions on your 2015 tax return, you have until December 31st to make your donations. 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.
- Concentrate your giving: Diversification isn’t an important consideration when giving, like it is when investing in stock. A few well-placed larger donations go farther and have the potential to do more good than a wide array of smaller gifts. Besides, the bigger your gift, the more motivated you will be to do the necessary due diligence.
~ read the charity navigator "nice list" ~
Civil Rights and Advocacy
Physicians for Reproductive Health
(New York, NY)
Animal Rights, Welfare, and Services
Botanical Gardens, Parks, and Nature Centers
Friends of Acadia
(Bar Harbor, ME)
Children's and Family Services
Forever Young Foundation
Community Foundation of New Jersey
Development and Relief Services
Meds & Food for Kids
(St. Louis, MO)
Diseases, Disorders, and Disciplines
Environmental Protection and Conservation
Fauna & Flora International
(Chevy Chase, MD)
Food Banks, Food Pantries, and Food Distribution
Midwest Food Bank
Foreign Charity Support Organizations
India Development and Relief Fund
(North Bethesda, MD)
Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment
Upper Valley Haven
(White River Junction, VT)
Housing and Neighborhood Development
Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties, Florida
(North Fort Myers, FL)
Humanitarian Relief Supplies
Books For Africa
(St. Paul, MN)
International Peace, Security, and Affairs
(New York, NY)
Libraries, Historical Societies and Landmark Preservation
The Seattle Public Library Foundation
The Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research
Multipurpose Human Service Organizations
Higher Ground Sun Valley
Metropolitan Museum of Art
(New York, NY)
Non-Medical Science & Technology Research
Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences
Other Education Programs and Services
Step Up For Students
Patient and Family Support
Camp John Marc
Private Elementary and Secondary Schools
Private Liberal Arts Colleges
Public Broadcasting and Media
(Clear Lake, IA)
Religious Media and Broadcasting
Lamb & Lion Ministries
Social and Public Policy Research
Middle East Forum
Boca Helping Hands
(Boca Raton, FL)
Treatment and Prevention Services
Community Volunteers in Medicine
(West Chester, PA)
Universities, Graduate Schools, and Technological Institutes
University of Tulsa
Wildlife Conservation Network
(San Francisco, CA)
Youth Development, Shelter, and Crisis Services
Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix
Zoos and Aquariums
Clearwater Marine Aquarium
See who made the naughty list.