We are a generous nation. In 2014 we gave over $358 Billion to charitable organizations. That doesn’t even account for the time that we spent serving on boards, coaching youth sports, volunteering at church, or the goods that we dropped off at the thrift store, the gifts we gave to our children’s teachers, or the money that we gave to friends or family members.
Generally-speaking the American people subscribe to Winston Churchill’s philosophy, “We make a life by what we give.”
Many of us, however, are often not sure where to give our hard-earned money. We want to donate it wisely and make sure that it is being used by reputable organizations that will use it for what they say they will. But, we’re often not sure how to find out this information.
Charity Navigator was started in 2001 by a husband and wife who wanted to provide the general public with independent and objective information about non-profit organizations so that people could make smart donation decisions. They now track over 8,000 charities and provide annual ratings through their website, charitynavigator.org, about how each organization is using the funds it receive, how well the organization is sustaining its programs, and how easy it is to find out information about the organization and how it spends its money.
As we move into a season of giving, be generous. As Sir John Templeton says, “Be a go-giver.” But, don’t just give to the first organization that sends you their year-end newsletter. Do your due diligence and give to the charities that have worked hard to earn our trust through responsible stewardship, accountability, and transparency.
What charities will you be donating to during this giving season?