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The 3 Best Resources for Finding a Cause to Believe In

Posted on Friday, March 30th, 2012 at 4:33 pm under Play Hard.
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When it comes to making charitable donations, it’s not always easy to find an organization that matches your ideals. You may feel inundated with ads on TV and flyers in the mail. But how do you get to know the ins and outs of these organizations? More importantly, how do you find the ones you’ve never even heard of that may be the right fit for you?

The web offers 3 really incredible resources that evaluate thousands of charities, categorizing them by cause, and even listing mistakes the companies have made. This transparency is not often found in other places that ask for your hard-earned money.

Charity Navigator tops our list, as it provides reviews of over 5,000 U.S.-based organizations. From financial efficiency to donor reviews, you can skim through lists based on your interests and causes that you feel passionate about.

If you are new to donating, check out Givewell. Not only does it review charities and offer recommendations, but this site also educates you on how to begin donating time and money to these organizations.

American Institute of Philanthropy is another great resource when searching for an organization to help. It offers a top-rated charity watch and gives information on salaries within the organization.

In recent years economists have devoted a considerable amount of time studying how our charitable donations can be used more efficiently. When it comes to humanitarians efforts, rather than stopping at the question as to whether aid works, the leaders in this field are now asking what type of aid works best.  Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo recently published an excellent book titled “Poor Economics,” which gives an in-depth look at randomized trials being used to fight poverty in some of the poorest regions of the world.

These breakthroughs have helps solve more issues and made a larger impact than previous efforts.  Organizations like Poverty Action began the proven impact fund, which supports interventions that have proved most cost-effective in rigorous trials. Perhaps one of the most successful efforts was an experiment to de-worm school children in the developing world. It was found that many children suffered from intestinal worms, rendering them too sick to attend school. Once treated, children missed far less school days and became more successful once they began working.

Deciding to donate your time and money is the first step. With these tools hopefully you will find the right charitable organization to invest in.

The Big Question:
Do you donate to a charitable organization? If so, which one and why did you choose it? Fill us in on the comments section below!  

A note from Lesser Evil: 

LesserEvil is thrilled to take our Buy it Forward initiative to the next level. We are announcing a new partnership with Autism Speaks, and will be donating 10% of our profits to help spread their message of Autism Awareness.

“Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.” -Taken from AutismSpeaks.org

It is a disorder that is approaching epidemic level proportion. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its estimate of autism prevalence in the United States to 1 in 88 children (1 in 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls). Autism Speaks is making great strides in getting the word out about this difficult disorder, and LesserEvil is thrilled to be an extension of this initiative.

Autism Speaks, Lesser Evil listens.