A great way to help those in need, regardless of how busy you are, is to donate to charity. Many Americans already make a habit of this, and America is subsequently the world leader in charitable giving. When we donate, we often use our hearts and not our heads, picking the first name that we associate with charity and a cause we agree with. Not always a bad way to choose, but there are smarter ways to donate.
Finding charities that have less recognition is a good way to see that a wider variety of helpful programs are supported. Those charities you automatically think of probably got lodged in your subconscious through advertisements, meaning they have the extra money to spend on marketing. This doesn’t make these charities less deserving at all, but some donors might want to seek other options and spread the support to other areas.
There are still loads of other effective charities out there that you may not have seen, but are still making differences. Below are 5 charities that do great work, but might be overlooked. All are 501c(3) certified.
- AdoptAClassroom.org: “We give teachers a hand.”
This charity is much less local than most charitable, education-based organizations. Primarily a website, this charity accepts donations from anywhere to pay for necessary education materials for various schools that need them. Eligible schools, K-12, all across America, receive the resources they need from this organization.
- Midwest Food Bank: “Bridging the gap between prosperity and poverty.”
Started in 2003 to serve one county in Illinois, this successful charity is now distributing $4.2 million in food every month across huge expanses of South and East Africa. The contributions they receive are given to various relief programs in disaster areas—a non-profit that gives to other non-profits: double charity.
- The Air Warrior Courage Foundation (AWCF): “Where camaraderie and caring continue.”
This organization aims to provide financial assistance for members of the military and their families should they need it. Focusing on members of the armed forces who are active, on reserve, and/or retired, this organization helps in areas that other military charities might neglect.
- Books For Africa: “Working to end the book famine in Africa.”
Founded in 1988, this thriving charity has now helped fill hands, shelves, and classrooms across Africa with over 27 million books shipped to date. With the scarcity of books in the targeted areas, donated books will be taken care of, reused, and given only to those who truly want to read and learn.
- Charity Navigator: “Your guide to intelligent giving.”
This is another charity website. Its purpose is to provide a referential compilation of data about various charitable organizations: how much money is used on projects, the monetary compensation of members, financial stability/history, and countless other ratings. As a nonprofit organization, this site depends on charitable contributions to keep the site maintained and updated.
These charities are all well-rated and proven to do serious good. Even if they aren’t the first you might think of, these charities won’t waste a donation. But, hey, if you can’t decide what charity to donate to, consider donating to Charity Navigator, the charity that could have helped you decide what charity to donate to in the first place. Or just use it to pick another deserving charity. There's no wrong answer.