How to Make Charitable Donation Dollars Count

The news today seems to be flooded with negative news stories. Fortunately, there are ways for people who want to help. Volunteering and making charitable donations are two common ways to enact positive change. However, not all charities are created equal. Well-meaning people might therefore wonder where they should invest their money to really get the biggest bang for their buck in terms of societal improvement.

For those considering donating to a good cause, below are some reputable and highly effective general, animal, and children’s charities to review.

General Charities

Conservation Fund: The Conservation Fund is an organization that is interested in preserving the natural resources of the country with an eye on economic sense and partnership with outside organizations to create solutions that benefit everyone. This environmental charity has several different programs, including some that focus on green infrastructure education and carbon offsetting. Plenty of outside institutions have positively evaluated Conservation Fund, including CharityWatch (with an A+ rating), Charity Navigator, and Great Nonprofits.

Breast Cancer Research Foundation: The Breast Cancer Research Foundation invests in research and awareness. In other words, it directs much of its funds into projects that further prevention of breast cancer, awareness programs, and discovery of cures for this disease. The Foundation’s official website provides financial reports so that interested individuals can see where the organization directs its funds. CharityWatch and GuideStar USA are two external institutions that have positively rated this charity.

American Civil Liberties Union: The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been the standard bearer for individual liberties since 1920. They have provided the backbone for the advancement of civil rights in the United States for people of all nationalities, genders, and backgrounds. This organization provides legal assistance in civil liberties-related cases, files lawsuits, and lobbies. CharityWatch and Charity Navigator have favorably rated this entity.

Animal Charities

Animal Welfare Institute: From its founding in 1951, this establishment has been involved in protecting and preventing animals from suffering at the hands of humans, whether that be as a voice against animal testing or harsh animal factories. CharityWatch and Charity Navigator are just two group that have positively reviewed the Animal Welfare Institute.

PetSmart Charities: PetSmart Charities is the charitable arm of the PetSmart parent organization. Their mission? To save and place homeless pets into loving homes. This results in an estimated 500,000 pets saved per year. They are also one of the largest sources of funding for animal welfare groups in the United States. Charity Navigator and Charity Watch have favorably rated this group. Furthermore, it is accredited by Better Business Bureau (BBB); this means it meets a certain set of standards that BBB has outlined.

American Humane (AH): Similarly, American Humane applies its history of more than 100 years of networking, services, and connections in providing rescue, shelter, protection, and security of pets. Among other things, it provides the “No Animals Were Harmed” tagline in movie credits. While it primarily provides relief to animals, it also has programs dedicated to other causes, such as child protection. CharityWatch gives it a good rating and it is also BBB accredited.

Children’s Charities

Unbound, or the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging (CFCA): Unbound focuses on alleviating the struggle of those that are living in poverty, particularly the young and elderly. This international group provides education, hope, and needed daily resources to help those living in poverty find their feet so they may eventually become self-sufficient. CharityWatch, Charity Navigator, and the American Institute of Philanthropy all favorably rate this entity. It is also BBB accredited.

Child Find of America: Child Find of America exists to address the pain caused by child abductions in the country. The organization provides professional resources to help prevent child abductions from happening and helping to resolve them when they occur. Offering education, counseling, and more, they are often a first line of support to parents that find themselves in the horrifying reality of missing a child. It has an A+ rating from CharityWatch.

Prevent Child Abuse America: Present in every state, this organization provides resources to improve conditions for children. It focuses on helping to prevent harmful social and physical conditions that can limit children’s growth and development into healthy adults. CharityWatch and Charity Navigator are just two groups that have favorably rated this charity.

Car Donations

What are car donations, anyway? Essentially, those who no longer want or need a vehicle may be able to donate it to certain charitable entities. While this practice varies by country, the United States allows it, and those who donate may receive tax benefits similar to other types of charitable donation write-offs. (Note that certain requirements must be met and paperwork filled in order to qualify for these benefits). Charities may use these vehicles for many purposes, including for organizational needs, to give it to someone else, or to resell the vehicle and then use the proceeds for needs as the organization sees fit.

Below are just a few charitable entities that accept car donations:

Habitat for Humanity International: This nonprofit was founded in 1976. The purpose of the organization is to build affordable housing in communities around the world. Applicants need to meet certain financial requirements and pass background checks in order to be eligible for the housing. CharityWatch gives the organization a B+. Typically, Habitat will resell donated vehicles.

Alzheimer’s Association: The purpose of this charity is to advance research regarding Alzheimer’s disease, as well as help provide assistance to those affected by the disease. This association has received a B+ from CharityWatch, 3 out of 4 stars from Charity Navigator, and is accredited by the BBB. This organization will also resell the vehicle; the money goes back to the organization.

Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Wheels for Wishes: This nonprofit organization grants “wishes” to children with life-threatening conditions or illnesses. These can include helping a child meet a famous role model or spend a day living out their dream job, like a police officer. Donated vehicles are sold, with the organization using the money to help fund future wishes.

Feel Confident in Making a Positive Change

There is a lot of injustice and harm in the world today, unfortunately. Sometimes it can feel like it is overwhelming. There are ways to help, though. Actions like making charitable donations is a popular way that many people help bring about positive change in the world.

The organizations listed here are obviously not the only ones making a difference in the world today. Outside organizations have noted these particular charities to be trustworthy, though. This can make potential donators feel more confident that their charitable donations will effectively be used to make a positive change.


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