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Ten Top Charities to Donate Money to as Ranked by Their Efficiency and Effectiveness

Doing a good deed like donating money to charity has both health benefits and tax advantages, so if you've been thinking of donating, but haven't yet taken action, now is an ideal time.


Sometimes it's easy to spot a good cause, other times not. Here we've found some great charities for you to consider.

Once you've decided to donate, it begs the question: Which charity should I donate to? There are over 1 million non-profits in the United States, according to, and while you may have a favorite cause in mind, deciding where to place your hard-earned money can be a daunting task (and, for some, daunting enough to make them think twice about giving).

Your personal choice might be to donate to one or more small, yet relevant, organizations that have meaning in your life or for the life of a loved one. It could be based on spiritual or emotional reasons, on a family illness, or stem from a personal spiritual desire or experience with your local church, synagogue or place of worship (or due to their support that you or a family member received during difficult times).

However, knowing your hard-earned money is going for the purpose you intended is not always easy.

Our staff found, through their quantitative research, that there are some relatively "small" little-known, well-kept secrets in terms of charities out there. These are very effective national organizations that assure your donations go directly for the purpose of creating the intention and value you might be seeking (versus going into the pocket of those managing an organization). A few of those include:

  1. Cancer Treatment Research Foundation (CTRF): "Changing the Face of Cancer NOW!" Once diagnosed with cancer, every second becomes more precious. Due to underwriting of daily operational expenses, CTRF is a charity where 99 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to fund cancer research. This ratio is unparalleled in any not-for-profit setting. CTRF-funded research only supports clinically based studies that have passed the test tube stage, are ready to make a significant impact on cancer patients, and do not include use of laboratory animals. CTRF-funded research encompasses the most innovative applications of conventional therapies (chemotherapy, radiation and surgery) and the best in science-based complementary medicine (nutrition, biofeedback, psychoneuro-immunology, spiritual, etc).

  2. "Is there more to life than this?" Non-judgmental, all-denominational Christian nonprofit organization that welcomes and provides a forum to help people in their spiritual exploration. ALPHA welcomes all people from any and all different beliefs and backgrounds.

The ALPHA courses are FREE to all attendees always while attending the 10-week program. This assures that all guests from all walks of life are able to participate at a purely spiritual non-monetary level.

ALPHA has been accepted and utilized by the Anglican, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Evangelical, Episcopal, Vineyard, Assemblies of God, Pentecostal, Salvation Army, Free Church, and House Churches. All these denominations plus nondenominational, independent Churches, and more have accepted and provided Alpha in communities throughout the United States and the world. Because Alpha covers the basics of Christianity, all home-based programs and churches are provided the same material obtained from

Individual donations make it possible to expand the offer of ALPHA programs beyond the reach of today's ALPHA hosts.

Other Charity Resources, an independent charity evaluator with information on over 5,000 U.S. charities, is an excellent resource that helps to take the guesswork out of donating.

CharityNavigator evaluates the financial health of charities, including their organizational efficiency and their organizational capacity, and gives them scores based on items such as administrative expenses, fundraising expenses and revenue growth. Charities that have earned four stars (an "exceptional" rating) exceed the industry standards and outperform most charities in their cause.

Here is CharityNavigator's list of the top eight large charities with budgets exceeding $100 million, and at least $65 million in net assets (and you can check out CharityNavigator to find even more).

CharityNavigator's Top Eight Charities

  1. The National Christian Foundation (NCF): NCF supports churches, ministries and other charities whose work is not "antithetical to the Christian faith."

  2. American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC): JDC's mission is to serve the needs of Jews throughout the world, particularly where their lives as Jews are threatened or made more difficult.

Donate your time

Want to give back in a non-monetary way? Donate your time instead!

  1. PATH (Program for Appropriate Technology in Health): An international organization that creates sustainable, culturally relevant solutions, enabling communities worldwide to break longstanding cycles of poor health.

  2. CARE: CARE fights root causes of poverty in the world's poorest communities, with a special focus on working alongside poor women to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty.

  3. Conservation International (CI): CI's mission is to conserve the Earth's living heritage, our global biodiversity, and to demonstrate that human societies are able to live harmoniously with nature.

  4. Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS): WCS saves wildlife and wild lands through careful science, international conservation, education, and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the Bronx Zoo.

  5. The Nature Conservancy: The leading conservation organization working to protect the most ecologically important lands and waters around the world for nature and people.

  6. City of Hope and Affiliates: City of Hope National Medical Center and Beckman Research Institute provide help to millions of people who are battling life-threatening diseases.

Recommended Reading

The Personal Health & Economic Benefits of Donating Your Time to a Cause

How to Get the Greatest Tax Advantages by Donating Money to Charity

Charity Navigator

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