How to Maximize Your Monetary Donations This Holiday Season

holiday donationsCharity becomes a major focal point during the holidays, for several reasons. For some, it’s a desire to set an example for the younger generation, while others give to specific charities due to a personal connection to a particular charity’s cause. Still others want to contribute to favorite causes to honor or remember a loved one. Many just like the good feeling they get from giving to others. And let’s not forget, the end of the year is the end of tax season for most, making December the last opportunity to make a charitable donation to include on a tax return.

But you may be reluctant to give to charity because you’ve heard that only a fraction of the money goes to the intended purpose and the rest is eaten up with administrative costs.

How do you determine which charity will most efficiently use your contribution?

charity navigator

To help you sort out which charities will best use your donation, the website Charity Navigator evaluates and rates charities based upon their performance with donated monies. Since their founding in 2001, Charity Navigator has assessed over 5,000 American charities, rating them based on their organizational financial health and their accountability and transparency with funds. Because the company is designated as a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization, Charity Navigator is funded through donations from individuals, corporations, and foundations. The site accepts no funding from the charities which they evaluate, allowing for an objective system of assessment. Each charity is closely examined to determine:

  • How efficiently they use funds
  • How well they manage their programs
  • How committed they are to operating under the principles of good governance, best practices, and transparency.

Since its beginning, Charity Navigator has consistently been recognized as a positive, unbiased tool for evaluation of philanthropies. With over 5,000 charities assessed, both on a national and community level, it may be helpful to check the site for the charity to which you intend to contribute. You may even discover a new charitable organization to support.

{photo used under Creative Commons from tsausawest – flickr}

Do you have a favorite local, national, or global charity? Please share it in the comments below.