Charity Giving Sites- Top Ten

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Want to know how to give to charity online?

While most people have a charity or two that are near and dear to their heart they often struggle with selecting other charities to donate to and how to best make the donation. It can be overwhelming when one considers just how many great causes there are yet also some that might not be doing as much good as they should. The following ten websites each have benefits when it comes to making the process easier in some way. Some are for assistance in selecting charities, others for investigating how they operate and there’s even one for having some fun while helping out. With these sites making it easier to be philanthropic the world could just end up a better place.




1. No Hassle Giving Site by Capital One: 

Global Alexa Rating: 448


This site is for Capital One credit card holders that want to get money into the hands of a favorite charity without having that charity lose part of the donation to transaction fees. The program ensures 100% of your donation gets to the charity and you can use the search feature on the site to locate one. Search by name, keyword, topic or zip code to pick from over 1.2 million public charities. Users receive a receipt via email for tax deduction purposes. The website can be used to make one-time donations or recurring donations that will occur automatically either monthly, quarterly or annually.  Another nice feature is the ability to create a charity widget to put on your web page, blog or social networking site. This is a great way to help out your favorite charities.




2. Go Fund Me:

Global Alexa Rating: 2,711


Go Fund Me is a site dedicated to crowdfunding in which anyone can create a site, share with friends and collect donations. This is a great place to go when you want to expand your charitable giving to more than just non-profit endeavors. It gives people the chance to help ordinary people achieve something they might not be able to accomplish on their own. There are lots of different categories so givers can select either something that personally speaks to them or find people in their area that have asked for help. Some requests are urgent such as assistance with medical care, a pageant entry fee, help with funeral costs or recovery from an accident. Others are for fulfilling a wish or dream such as collecting for college, help with a wedding or honeymoon, planning a vacation for a loved one or starting a business. There are some non-profits, missions, churches and other charities represented as well. The site also puts up national collections for things such as natural disasters.



3. GuideStar:   

Global Alexa Rating: 20,925


GuideStar is an organization that gathers information about IRS-registered nonprofit organizations and puts it in a format that is easy to understand. They have information on 1.8 million nonprofits. They have a number of reports available by subscription which will be helpful to private foundations, corporate giving programs and donors making major gifts. They are somewhat cost prohibitive for most individuals, however. That is not to say that there isn’t good information available without putting out some membership fees. Searching the website for a charity you are considering will bring up their GuideStar Quick View which gives basic information, their rating of it and member personal reviews.




4. Charity Navigator:   

Global Alexa Rating: 33,175


Charity Navigator works a bit like GuideStar (see above) except it operates through donations by the public. Registered users (free) gain access to expanded features such as viewing historical data on charities, comparing up to 5 charities at a time and keeping a personalized charity portfolio of those charities of interest. The basic features of the website include the charity name search, A-Z directory and an advanced search including browsing by category. There is also an interactive world map for locating 4-star charities around the world. Another feature of the website is the Hot Topics area with articles about disaster relief and other relevant discussions. Two particularly interesting aspects of this website are their Top Ten Lists and the Donor Advisories List.  They also offer a free newsletter.




5. Great Nonprofits:

Global Alexa Rating: 51,433


This website is a tool that allows users to locate, review and share information about nonprofits and charities. The website includes over 1.8 million nonprofits for users to search and read first hand accounts about. Clients, donors, volunteers and others that have had direct experience with a nonprofit are encouraged to tell their stories. Besides reading the reviews that have been written many of the nonprofits have entered just what a donation of time or money will do to help the organization. Donors can easily see exactly what good they are doing by making a donation which is a good feeling. The site also provides badges so users can promote their favorite organizations on their own web pages.  One of the great things about this website is it gives people the opportunity to support a charity through a nice review even if they don’t have the ability to donate time or money to it.




6. Free Rice:

Global Alexa Rating: 57,502


As promised in the introduction, here is a website that incorporates fun – and it doesn’t cost you a dime! The Free Rice non-profit website is owned by and supports the United Nations World Food Program. The way it works is that users answer questions in a chosen subject category and for each answer they get right a donation of 10 grains of rice is made to help end hunger. The money comes from advertisers paying for banners displayed on correct answers.  For those that want to track their totals they can sign up for free. Besides being fun and doing it for a good cause, users find they can learn a great deal as well.  Some of the subjects offered are English vocabulary, English grammar, SAT test preparation, world capitals, flags  of the world, basic math, human anatomy and even five different language learning subjects. What a fun and educational way to fight world hunger!




7. Give Well:

Global Alexa Rating: 181,526


GiveWell is involved in in-depth charity research and they provide recommendations for those that meet the fine tuned criteria they have designated. First of all they require that there is strong evidence that the charity is positively impacting people’s lives. Secondly they must be providing cost-effective activities – meaning they are utilizing donations efficiently. They also require that the charities fully disclose all financial and other information. The last criteria is that there is room for more funding so that donations are able to be used productively.  The website gives full details about their research process. At the current time they have three top charities that they are recommending and users can read the full report on these as well as donate directly from their webpage. Recommendations from past years can also be accessed.





8. American Institute of Philanthropy Charity Watch:

Global Alexa Rating: 208,566


This website is organized into the following main sections: Hot Topics, Top-Rated and A-Z Listing. Also on the website is an explanation of their rating system and the criteria used. There are also tips for giving. They operate by donation but a minimum $50 donation covers membership for one year which includes their Charity Rating Guide & Watchdog Report. While ratings are given for the Top-Rated users need a membership to view the ratings for those on the A-Z list. The articles section has some incredibly useful articles. A particularly useful feature is that each charity on the Top-Rated list has a link to that charity’s website.




9. Just Give:

Global Alexa Rating: 317,909


Just Give is a resource for online charitable giving. There are many ways to use the website. Users can make a one-time donation by choosing that option on the donations tab then using one of the three tools for locating a charity (search local, category or advanced). Users can also choose monthly giving for setting up a recurring donation. The next option on the list is immediate needs giving. With this option the site has selected one category that pulls up just those charities that are working on that immediate need. The next option is a gift donation – this is the ability to donate to a charity in the name of someone you know as a gift. The last category is memorial donations which are used to pay tribute to someone that has passed. Users can also set up a memorial charity registry to engage others into giving as a memorial as well. Registries can be used for other purposes as well such as a wedding registry. One last way to use the site is to prepare a GiveNow gift card. You select from over 100 different designs or upload your own image for a card that can be emailed, printed, or mailed. The user then selects any amount ($10 minimum). The recipient then redeems the card by selecting their favorite charity.




10. Philanthropedia:

Global Alexa Rating: 892,316


Philanthropedia is a division of GuideStar USA Inc. It differs in that this site entails observations made by sector experts regarding various charities. Currently there are reviews on just under 700 nonprofits made by a little over 3,000 experts. The website is organized with all the various sectors on the homepage with the ability to mouse over each picture to see how many nonprofits are in that sector and how many experts have recommended them.  Clicking on one of the pictures takes users to the ranked nonprofits with the

Feeling good about giving to a charity comes from knowing they are effective in what they do first and foremost. While it is disturbing if a charity uses o high percentage of donations to run administratively, if they are really making a difference then that should be of less concern. Take the time to fully understand the charities you are considering so you can feel good about your donations. If you plan to take a tax deduction for the donation it is a good idea to check with the Internal Revenue Service at to verify the organization’s tax-exempt status.





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