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The Best Charity to Donate To - HOW to Decide on a Charity to Give To

Updated on April 8, 2015

What Charity Should You Donate To?

So who has a hard time deciding what charity to donate to? Raise your hands. Yeah, me, too. For me, it depends on two things. What are my passions? And what are my resources?

There are a lot of worthwhile charities to which you can donate--tons. So how do you decide? How do you choose just one or even two charities to help out?

Do you have money to give? Or is it time that you can share? Looking at your finances, your time available, and your interests can help you to decide where to invest your time and money as far as charities go.

So, ask yourselves some questions.

My JDRF magnet

JDRF supporter magnet
JDRF supporter magnet | Source

Are You Able to Donate Money to a Charity?

Is it money you want to give? If you do have the means to give of your finances, how in the world do you decide on a charity?

Really, you just have to look at your interests, at your passions. What age group do you have a heart for? The elderly? Abused children? Runaway teens? Having a degree in social work, I have worked in all of these fields. At different times, I have given to the Alzheimer's Association as well as to Children's House, a therapeutic center for children who have experienced abuse and neglect, a place where I worked for five years. Having a love for pets, I have given to various animal organizations over the years.

Another question you can ask yourself: what issues pull at you? Do you feel for the poor? The homeless? Those who cannot afford medical care--or even food? Over the years, I have given to Habitat for Humanity and Feeding America. There are also organizations such as Doctors without Borders who provide medical treatment all over the world.

After giving sporadically now and then to different charities, I finally decided to give to one agency on a regular basis through a monthly gift taken from my credit card. My choice was JDRF, or the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Why did I choose that particular charity? Because it's personal. My boyfriend of 9 years has suffered with Type 1 diabetes for the majority of his life, and I see its effects. While research for a cure may be too late for him, it might not be for his grandchildren who could be diagnosed with this terrible illness.

Look at what's personal to you, what weighs on you. Where your heart is, your money should follow.

Boxes of stuff to donate
Boxes of stuff to donate | Source

Can You Give Physical Items?

If you don't have the money to give to a charity, what about giving away items you already have? If you're a minimalist and don't have a lot of personal possessions, this may not work for you.

For me, I'm a packrat. I always have supplies, things, sentimental items. I love going to flea markets and garage sales, which often leads to my house being loaded with just too much stuff. Throughout the year, I'm always going through things to either throw out or give away. This is another way to help others. Several times a year, I'll have a carload of items to donate--extra towels and sheets, dishes, or other household items that are taking up too much space in my house.

With kids, there are always clothes and toys that are outgrown and that others can use. Think about what you have in your home, what is still in good shape and that can be shared with those less fortunate.These items can be donated to shelters or thrift stores.

Could You Give of Your Time?

Perhaps you don't have the money or enough extra belongings in your home to share with other people. That's okay. Your time is important, too. For many non-profit organizations, they depend on volunteers to help staff their organizations. For them, time really is money.

Check out the local organizations in your community such as:

  • homeless shelters (help serve a meal)
  • shelters for abused or orphaned children (give children extra attention)
  • shelters for teens (spend time with troubled teens)
  • Salvation Army or other like organizations (help with various programs)
  • nursing homes (visit, read to the elderly)
  • Hospice (visit those who are dying)
  • Habitat for Humanity (help build a home)

These are a few ideas. Check your local Chamber of Commerce for a list of more organizations that could use your help.

Poll on Giving

How do you mostly give to charities?

See results

Give to Current Issues or Catastrophes!

If you can't give money regularly, and don't have a lot of possessions or time to give, you might consider giving to issues that come up--which are many--over the course of the year. This could be your calling, the one to help out when needed. Or perhaps you have your regular avenues of giving, but you also want to give more when needed. No problem. Mother nature and other evil forces in this world will ensure that you have opportunities to help ease suffering. Consider some of the following:

  • natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy U.S. 2012
  • the Tsunami in Japan 2011
  • the earthquake in Haiti 2010
  • school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, Newtown, CT, U.S. 2012

These are only just a few examples of recent events. There is always something that is happening locally in your town, in your country, or in the world. I have felt compelled at times to give locally as well as internationally.

Make a difference!

Writers are joining to find ways to help make the world a better place. Check out these sites:

Humanity One World website

H.O.W. on Facebook

Discover Your Passion--and Give!

There is a whole world of people out there who need help at one time or another. If you have a heart to give, finding your charity is the first step. Your choices may change as your personal situation (such as time and money) changes, but there are so many different ways to give.

Ask yourself the questions this article has raised. Find your passion. And give.

People need people. We all have issues. Giving brings us together. Inspiring video . . .


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    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Thanks for the feedback, Peg. We never know how what we do will impact others. Just of our time, even. :-)

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      5 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Thanks for these great ideas on how to help others through our contributions. You've shown that it doesn't require money to make a difference, just some time or tangible donations can help.

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      7 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      And thank YOU, Dancing Water, for the information about these organizations and where to check out ratings of different charities. That's great information to have. Thanks so much!

    • Dancing Water profile image

      Dancing Water 

      7 years ago

      A great place to investigate as to how a charity uses our contributions is Charity Navigator. I have made it a practice to give only to charities that have a four-star rating. I tend to give to environmental organizations like the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), because without a viable environment, all of us on Mother Earth will not survive. One more great charity, by the way, is Environmental Working Group (Skin Deep), where one can find what cosmetic products are giving us cancer and other negative health issues.

      Thank you, Victoria, for a very helpful hub!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      7 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      critic thinking--Any little thing is better than nothing. Go for it!

    • critic thinking profile image

      Fernando Mateo 

      7 years ago from Barcelona

      Good hub, I am also planning to contribute with a small fund-raising online for charity, soon I will write a hub about it, I don't think I can collect much but it is better than nothing

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      7 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Deb--That is a great idea for writers to share of their talents! Thanks for sharing that!

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 

      7 years ago from Iowa

      Writers have a lot of skills that are useful to charities and by volunteering those skills, you can help to bolster a freelance resume. When I was just getting started with freelancing, I volunteered to help write grant applications for the local Habitat for Humanity chapter. I helped the organization get several grants and had something I could add to my resume. A win-win.

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      7 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Thanks, Eddy! You're so sweet to read this. Hope you had a nice weekend, as well!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      7 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      agusfanani--I appreciate those comments. Very nice. I do think we should share where we can.

      teaches--You're right. It's rewarding to the giver, as well as the one who receives. Thanks for your great comments!

    • Eiddwen profile image


      7 years ago from Wales

      So useful Victoria and thank you so very much for sharing.

      Have a great weekend.


    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      Victoria, we give to certain charities and donate our time as well. It is so rewarding to know you are helping others in need. You have covered this well and your words will encourage others to give from the heart.

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      7 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      xstatic--You're so right, and we are so lucky. Thanks for pointing that out! :-) Happy New Year!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      7 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      OH, Debbie, thanks so much for the blessings and support and for sharing this hub! :-)

    • agusfanani profile image


      7 years ago from Indonesia

      It's true that within the fortune we have, part of it should be shared with others and that idea also motivates me to spare some of what I have to be shared for charity either in the form of money , tangible items or both and the activity takes place regularly or accidentally. Thank you for writing about this noble hub.

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      7 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      bravewarrior--That's a great tip to check out that site before donating. Thanks so much! That's great to know.

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 

      7 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      As Debbie said, "wonderful." We are so lucky to have a roof over our heads and know where our next meal is coming from and to live in this country, even with all its problems. This is an inspiration to give what we can, to donate surplus food and clothing and time.

      Up +

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 

      7 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      This is a wonderful Hub.. for the HOW MOVEMENT.. I want to share ..

      many blessings to you.. keep them coming


    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      I have several charities I donate funds to regularly, that is until I discovered how much of my money actually went to the cause. Now, I'm more careful with monetary donations. Time or items seem to be the safest way of donating. However, there are charities out there that put your monetary donations to good use. Before donating cash, check out the following site and ask to see the IRS Form 990 of the entity you are considering, then decide where your donation will be well spent:

      You will be very disenchanted to find much of your monetary donations goes to the 'non-profit corporate heads'. Trust me, I learned the hard way!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      7 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      NMLady--That's great that it's a charity you know personally and can trust. Glad you stopped by!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      7 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Martie--Glad you came by! And I'm glad to spread some ideas for giving. :-)

    • NMLady profile image


      7 years ago from New Mexico & Arizona

      I am lucky on this. My dearest friend is the Ex. Director of the Lura Turner Homes. I give to them. Also, the UMOM shelter is somewhere I have supported since the 80' is a shelter for the homeless.

      Nice article.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      For anybody who has no idea how to be a charitable spirit, this hub gives them all the guidance they need.

      Excellent, Vicky! Voted up and tops :)

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      7 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Pamela--Thanks for the feedback. If everybody would do something, what a difference it could make, huh? :-)

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      7 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Ruchira, those are great things! Thanks for sharing!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Great suggestions for ways to donate to charities. I try to choose worthwhile charities where items or money is getting to those that deserve it also. Excellent hub.

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      7 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      LagunaAlkaline--Time is a great gift. Keep on giving! Thanks for reading!

    • Ruchira profile image


      7 years ago from United States

      Informative hub, Vicki.

      I usually give my stuff to goodwill. Money to charities that work on various researches.

      Voted up as useful. Sharing it across

    • LagunaAlkaline profile image


      7 years ago from Camas, WA

      Very informative hub! I usually give my time because I love seeing the looks on peoples faces and it's awesome seeing what is happening with my time! Rated up and Useful.

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      7 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Effer--You rock, girl! I agree that we have to make sure charities are legit. We can all do something, even if it seems small. Thanks for the input. I always love reading your comments!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      7 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      btrbell--Thanks for the feedback. I do feel, too, that we can all do something!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      7 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Hey, klanguedoc, good to see you! We definitely have to have a plan, as there are so many charities out there! A children's hospital is a great place to give. I've thought about sponsoring a child somewhere. That's a neat idea, too!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      7 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Michele--Hospice is a great organization! I worked with them closely when I worked in a nursing home setting. That's wonderful that you are doing that!

    • fpherj48 profile image


      7 years ago from UpstateWestern,New York

      Vee....I give $$, tangibles & my time at various times to different charities. It is close to a "hobby" for me to be always looking for something I can do or give to help where it is needed.

      We do all have to be cautious and do our homework, to make certain the charities are legitimate and that the "donations," of all kinds, are going to whom they should be.

      I'm especially partial to Veteran's Organizations and there are several that are wonderful...but others that have been shameful scams and are under aggressive investigation.

      It does my heart good to see people helping people. In some small way, it makes up for the inhumanity all around us...although, I want to see an END to all of that......UP+++

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      7 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      You're welcome, Bill! And, like I said in the hub, time is important, too, as time is money. Giving time to people really does mean a lot. Happy New Year! Here's hoping for a better one!

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 

      7 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      What a great hub filled with realistic ideas. No one has any excuse not to do something! Thank you so much for putting this so succinctly! Up+ and sharing!

    • klanguedoc profile image

      Kevin Languedoc 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Great Hub Victoria-Lynn. I totally agree with what you are saying, you have to have a plan on how often, to who or what organization, etc.. I donate a monthly amount to a Children's hospital up here in Montreal. My wife supports a child in Africa through World Vision.

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 

      7 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      This is a great hub. I have started to volunteer my time to people at a hospice site. Or I am going through the process. The papers have been submitted and next ( Monday) I am having a TB test. But, that is ok, time with people is worth more then money. At least that is what I think.

      Voted up!!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great suggestions, Vicki, and thank you for adding to the movement. I won't give money to charities but we do give our time often.


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