Giving money to charity is a great thing to do, but to make sure your money is being used wisely, it’s important to investigate the charity to which you’re considering donating. The last thing you want to do is give your money to a sketchy “charity” that uses the majority of the donations it receives to pay its staff. You need to be sure that your money is actually going to help the people you want it to help.
To help you do this, we’ve compiled a list of fifteen charities worth donating to for you to consider when deciding who to give your hard-earned money to.
Pencils of Promise is a for-purpose (as opposed to a non-profit) organization that builds schools, trains teachers, and funds scholarships. It started when founder Adam Braun asked a boy on the streets in India what he wanted most. His answer was “a pencil.” Adam went on to give out thousands of pens and pencils to children in over fifty countries over the next five years, before starting Pencils of Promise.
Pencil of Promise is different from most charities in that it mixes a humanitarian purpose with a smart business approach to ensure there’s a great ROI on every dollar spent. It funds its operations through financial support from private donors, events, and companies. This means that 100% of the money donated to Pencils of Promise goes directly towards helping the children in the countries the charity works in. The charity also stays behind once the schools it builds are finished, to ensure that everything keeps running smoothly. The charity works with local communities to come up with curriculum and programs.
777 is an endurance, adventure, and philanthropic initiative put on in partnership with Pencils of Promise by Joel Runyon and his company, Impossible Ventures. Joel is going to run 7 ultra marathons on 7 continents in order to raise the money and awareness to build 7 schools with Pencils of Promise, to provide opportunities to those for whom a basic education seems impossible.
Joel runs IMPOSSIBLE, where he pushes himself and encourages other people to push their limits and do something impossible. In 2013, Joel raised the money to build one school in Guatemala with Pencils of Promise. Seeing the impact his work did, Joel decided to step it up and push himself to do what, for him, seems impossible, in order to make education possible for children in countries like Guatemala. Joel is funding the mission himself, through travel hacking and other initiatives, and all the money donated goes directly to building the schools.
Cancer Research UK funds scientists, doctors, and nurses who are researching and attempting to find cures for cancer. It also provides information on cancer to members of the public and its policy-development team advises Government and develops policy on issues relating to cancer.
Cancer Research UK is officially the UK’s most trusted charity, according to research conducted for the Charity Commission. A number of bodies work together to ensure that the charity makes the best use of the donations it receives and that the research it carries out is world-class. The charity receives no Government funding, and so relies on donations to help its scientists move closer to finding a cure. Money goes towards such thing as funding research centers and buying research equipment.
See some of the ways your support helps. We receive no Government funding so our life-saving work is only possible thanks to people like you.
Scott Harrison, the founder of Charity: Water was a hedonistic nightclub promoter when he went to South America and realized he was “the most selfish, sycophantic and miserable human being.” He began volunteering as a photographer for a Christian aid group that performed surgeries in poor countries and saw how much impact people like him could have on the lives of the people he met. Two years later, he decided to start a charity to provide clean water to people in poor countries. But with no money, Harrison had to rely on his talent for promotion to begin raising money.
Several years later, Charity: Water ensures that every cent donated goes straight into projects in the field. It also shows its donors exactly what their money has achieved and uses social media to raise awareness. The charity is applauded for its accountability and transparency. To date, it has funded over 13,000 water projects.
Médicins Sans Frontières is an international medical humanitarian organization that provides emergency aid to people who are in need because of natural disasters, armed conflict, and exclusion from healthcare for whatever reason. It helps people according to their needs, ignoring variables such as race, religion, gender, and political beliefs. The organization aims to be impartial and neutral and to instead focus on providing the help that is needed.
90% of the organization’s funding comes from private sources rather than governments, which means the charity can remain neutral and independent. Over 80% of the charity’s funding goes towards resources for humanitarian support. Only 20% of donations are put into management, administration, and fundraising activities. The charity’s audited financial reports are publicly available.
All Hands Volunteers is a US-based non-profit organization that gives hands-on help to communities around the world, aiming for maximum impact and minimum beaurocracy. It aims to provide immediate and sustainable support to those who need it and to be the most effective charity out there. It has helped survivors following disasters in places such as Haiti and Japan.
The charity raises money through special events, adverts, grant proposals, direct mail, internet appeals, and other approaches. Over 80% of the money raised by the charity goes directly into providing relief and assistance to communities, and the charity has an extremely high transparency score.
Oxfam is an international confederation of 17 organizations that work together and with local communities in over 90 countries. The organization is committed to mobilizing the power of people against poverty, by finding practical and innovative ways to help people and communities lift themselves out of poverty. It responds to crises, campaigns to raise awareness of poverty, and helps people to thrive.
Approximately 80% of the charity’s donations go directly towards helping people in poverty. The charity also has an extremely high transparency rating and is well-known across the world.
The Rainforest Alliance is a conservation organization that aims to protect the rainforest by making it financially appealing for businesses and communities to protect the rainforest. They help businesses improve their standards, so that their practices are sustainable and rainforest-friendly. Once businesses meet their standards, they can become certified, which makes them more appealing to customers. Rainforest Alliance has certified companies such as Scholastic, McDonald’s, and Kraft.
Over 90% of this charity’s donations go directly towards helping the rainforest. The majority of the remaining money goes into fundraising efforts rather than administration or management.
The World Wildlife Fund aims to protect endangered species and their habitats. They aim to have the biggest impact they can, by encouraging people to make choices that are sustainable and animal-friendly, for example by buying sustainable seafood.
The charity’s financial information is readily available on its website. It receives just over 50% of its funding from donations, and 20% from governments. Over 80% of the organization’s income goes towards program expenses. Of the money that isn’t, just over 10% goes towards fundraising.
Featured photo credit: IMPOSSIBLE & Pencils of Promise via 777.impossiblehq.com