At the end of last year, the Tampa Bay Times released an article that outed the 50 worst charities to give to in the United States. After a year-long research project, Tampa Bay Times — alongside CNN — found that these charities gave more money to for-profit institutions to boost donations, rather than to their stated cause. The list included Kids Wish Network, American Breast Cancer Foundation, National Veterans Service Fund, and others.

 

When deciding which charity to donate to, it is difficult to know exactly where one’s money is going. One wonders how much of what they give is actually going to help those in need, and how much of it is going to bolster someone’s salary or marketing campaigns. Many charity groups are influenced by popular backers whose business models do not exactly fit with what the charity stands.

 

One charity that has come under fire in the past couple years is Goodwill Industries. Goodwill is one of the most popular charities in the U.S., claiming to help those with disabilities find jobs, but with finding of some workers being paid an astonishing wage of 22 cents per hour while upper level executive make more than half a million per year, these claims seem to be less than founded.

 

That is why when deciding on which charities to give to and which to avoid, it is important to do the proper research. Websites such as Givealike.org and GiveWell.org, have already done much of the research for you. These sites rank thousands of charities to ensure people know if their money is being well-spent.

 

Donating one’s money, clothes, and other goods to the right charity helps give people a sense of accomplishment and comfort knowing they are doing good. If by simply giving money you still feel like you aren’t doing enough, there are always volunteer opportunities every day, both local to you and in more exotic locations. To find the right charity or volunteer opportunity, one must do the research.

 

What charities do you donate to? Which do you avoid? Let me know in the comments below or tweet at me @whatsthesich