China's recent earthquake is yet another in a series of devastating events this year. It's easy to feel helpless and confused about what to do.
When the earthquake struck Haiti in January, we found ourselves confused about how best to help. Short of getting there and lending a hand, giving to charity seemed the best option, but then there were the warnings about how quickly (and how much of) the funds would get there. Now comes the same feeling for China, but we've got three sites that can help you make your donation count.
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1. GreatNonprofits.com, a relatively young site (founded in 2007), aims to do for nonprofits what Yelp has done for restaurants: magnify word-of-mouth experience with the power of the Internet.
Smaller community nonprofits do good work that too often goes unrecognized and unsupported. If a local charity makes big news, it's often because of an accounting scandal or some other miscue, rather than the day-to-day work that charities perform. By promoting those charities that real people have had good (and bad) experiences with, organizers hope to empower more charitable donating and volunteering.
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You may not find a comprehensive report on your charity of choice, but you may find some useful information to guide your decision-making, when it comes time to volunteer or donate. What you will find is just about every legal nonprofit in the U.S., because GreatNonprofits partners with ...
2. Guidestar.org is a very useful site that compiles tax filings of more than 1.8 million U.S. nonprofits, so everyone can see how nonprofit organizations compensate staff and otherwise spend their money. It's long been a resource for reporters trying to understand the inner workings of organizations, but it can be useful for any citizen looking for information about an organization before making a donation.
Give to charity when you shop online.
But a tax form only tells you so much, and it isn't written in a user-friendly format, which brings us to ...
3. CharityNavigator.org, a site that evaluates 5,400 of the most prominent nonprofits based on how they spend their money. If an organization spends 80% of its budget and staff time raising money, it's not delivering on its mission. If an organization spends 90% of its money on programs that support its mission consistently over time, that's a different story, and worthy of the hard-earned dollars in your donation. Charity Navigator aims to break down the effectiveness and fiscal health of an organization into a simple four-star rating so potential donors can make sure their dollars are being spent well.
Get the whole family in on doing good deeds with these fun, educational activities.
What is your charity of choice? Do you have other good resources? Share with us!
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.