I receive a lot of solicitations in the mail from various charities - some of them are well known, and others not so much. I love to support causes close to my heart, but I've always struggled with believing that my donations actually make it to root of the cause, rather than getting caught up in administrative costs, like paying CEOs (of non profits?) and printing all those cards and letters that they send me monthly. Does this bother you too?
So instead of just tossing their letters and free return address labels into the trash without giving them a second thought, I've started looking up their organizations on Charity Navigator. A charity itself, this website allows you to look up charities and view how they spend the donations they receive. It's transparency, and a great way to decide who you want to support.
For example, I just received a card in the mail from Water for People, who I have heard of before but have never donated to. So I went online and looked them up - and wow, was I impressed! They spend 81% of their expenses on the services they provide through their charity. If you don't know, this charity works with local organizations in developing countries to help them understand the need for sanitation and clean drinking water, and then to help the people develop these resources on their own.
So I started looking up other charities that I like to support, and discovered some disappointing numbers, and some satisfactory ones! Have you heard of Operation Christmas Child, a program sponsored by the Samaritan's Purse? You can pack a shoebox of small gifts (virtually, or physically) and it will be sent to children around the world for Christmas. It's a small way to give a child a big smile. In some cities, churches in the area will collect the shoe boxes and send them to the regional headquarters altogether. If you live in an area where these are not collected - like me - you can try their virtual builder and pack a box online. OR, if you're still Christmas shopping for folks on your list, consider checking out Sevenly, who is currently donating $7 to Operation Christmas Child during this month for every purchase made on their site (and they have some pretty awesome charity inspired gifts!).
So what will you do this month? How will you contribute to those in need all over the world? How do you like to spread the message of the season with others? I'd love to hear your stories! Especially if you have other favorite charity sites and online shops that donate a portion of their proceeds! I'd love to feature them here.
Have a wonderful day and a blessed weekend!