Donating to charity can be so much fun! You have worked hard to earn money by getting a job, receiving an allowance, or starting a business of your own, and you have the freedom to choose how to spend your money. You have seen your family and friends donate to charities but may not understand why or how they chose those charities to donate to.
Let’s discuss choosing a charity that will allow for small donations to go the farthest!
How Do I Choose a Charity to Donate To?
Think about your values and what your passions are. Maybe you love animals, so donating to the local animal shelter could have a massive impact on your community. You can do some research on the charity on websites such as CharityNavigator.org to find out what its mission is, its expenses, the impact of its work, and how donated money is being used. This is important because you want to contribute to charities using donations responsibly.
World Food Program USA
This charity was established in 1995 and focuses on feeding individuals in crisis globally and working with world leaders to promote change in how food supply is impacted by military conflict. Donating even $5 to this charity feeds families that don’t have food, and they have a 90.41/100, 4-star rating on Charity Navigator, which means they use money responsibly and are meeting their goals.
Project Night Night
This charity was established in 2005 and offers comfort packages to homeless kids under 12 years old with a new blanket, bedtime story, and stuffed animal in a new, clean tote bag to give a little piece of normal during emotional times. The minimum donation is $25 and gives one package to a child. Charity Navigator has rated this charity as 100/100, 4-star!
This charity was established in 1980 and fulfills dreams for critically ill kids worldwide by donating bicycles and laptops or life-changing trips to the zoo or the pool for mermaid swimming lessons. Choose how much to give to the child of your choice! Charity Navigator rating is 90.36/100, 4-star rating.
St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital
This charity was established in 1980 and works to find cures for kids with critical, rare, or aggressive illnesses like cancer or leukemia using research and treatment. Families can breathe easier knowing that treatment at St. Jude’s is covered by donors that are willing to donate $25 or more. Charity Navigator rating is 90.99/100, 4-star rating.
Ronald McDonald House Charities
This charity was established in 1974 and provides support to families worldwide by helping them access medical care by providing lodging assistance near hospitals where kids are receiving treatment. Families are given a private room or suite to decompress and help with food, reducing worry. The suggested donation is $25, and 88 cents of every donated dollar goes towards helping families. Charity Navigator rating is 100/100, 4-star rating.
This charity was established in 2001 and offers kids that are living in homeless shelters a pair of clean pajamas and a bedtime story to create “good nights for good days,” which helps caregivers establish a healthy bedtime routine during uncertain times. Donations of $25 will help put together a kit, or you can purchase a book or set of pajamas to drop off at your local chapter. Charity Navigator rating is 98.16/100, 4-star rating.
This charity was established in 2012 and crowdfunds medical care for patients worldwide with 100% of donated funds going towards the intended patient. Open the website and choose a fund to donate to in $5 increments, then receive email updates on the status of the project and the patient’s care. Charity Navigator rating is 100/100, 4-star rating.
Local Animal Shelter or Rescue
If you want to keep your donated funds within your own community, reach out to a local shelter or rescue because they tend to get the least amount of donated funds and can do a lot with $5-10 amounts! Consider buying animal toys, food, or blankets if you find them on sale.
World Wildlife Fund
This charity was established in 1961 and is the “world’s leading conservation organization” working on advancing scientific knowledge to preserve the health of natural areas, plants, and animals in the wild by educating people about sustainable resources to reduce pollution. A $25 donation will let you symbolically adopt an animal of your choosing and you’ll receive a photo, adoption certificate, and a card with fun facts about that animal. Charity Navigator rating is 84.23/100, 3-star rating.
Sheldrick Wildlife Trust USA
This organization was founded 40 years ago and focuses on the care and rehabilitation of orphaned elephant and rhino babies, anti-poaching measures, and aerial surveillance of the nature preserves they operate in to protect the local wildlife. With a donation of $50, you can adopt a baby for an entire year and receive an adoption certificate with monthly updates, videos, and drawings of your chosen friend. Charity Navigator rating is 91.22/100, 4-star rating.
This organization has allowed individuals and families to adopt a deployed service member of the Armed Forces that doesn’t have someone back home to send them mail since 2004. Donations of amounts from $1 and higher are accepted to send care packages out monthly and letters out weekly from the organization or you can choose to sponsor someone directly for $25 per month. Charity Navigator rating is 92.61/100, 4-star rating.
Kennedy Krieger Institute
This foundation is a children’s hospital that is working to “turn disabilities into abilities” through research, training, and education that are making children’s lives better. Donations of amounts $5 and larger are accepted to fund research, care, programs, and services aimed at helping kids unlock their full potential in life. Charity Navigator rating is 100/100, 4-star rating.
La Esperanza Granada
This charity is providing educational materials like books, blocks, computers, tablets, crayons, and colored pencils to children in Granada, Nicaragua, or you can choose to sponsor an individual child. A $4 donation will pay for a book, $11 will pay for 480 sheets of construction paper for crafts, and $8 will pay for 12 boxes of 24 crayons. Charity Navigator has not rated this charity yet.
The Life You Can Save
This is a collection of charities that you can donate small amounts to, like $10, and see exactly what that money will purchase for the charity. For instance, a $10 donation to the Against Malaria Foundation will purchase 5 bed nets for areas prone to malaria outbreaks due to mosquitoes. One bednet will help 2 people sleep protected for up to 3 years. Charity Navigator has not rated this charity yet.
This organization fights inequality to end poverty and promote economic justice, climate actions, and gender equality. One example is that a $15 monthly donation will fund 3 hand washing taps in an area where running water is not guaranteed otherwise. Choose from a variety of gifts, and the fun part is that you can receive a card that gives details about the donation and what the money was used towards. Charity Navigator rating is 82.27/100, 3-star rating.
Habitat for Humanity International
The goal of this organization is to help families build stability and strength by providing an opportunity to have a healthy, stable place to live that is affordable and safe. A $10 donation will help provide essentials like child care, food, education, medicine, and housing resources that lead to self-sufficiency. Charity Navigator rating is 88/100.
Share Our Strength
This organization provides nutritious foods to vulnerable children that are at risk for food insecurity, so they have the opportunity to grow and thrive. A $10 donation to this charity allows for up to 100 meals to be offered so no child is allowed to go hungry during a time of life when they should only have to worry about being a kid. Charity Navigator rating is 88.29/100, 3-star rating.
Wildlife Conservation Society
This organization operates in 60 countries, runs 4 zoos, and operates 1 aquarium in New York State with the goal of wildlife conservation, prevention of wildlife crime, combating climate crisis situations, and providing wildlife havens while fighting against natural habitat destruction. A $10 donation to this charity helps save wildlife and preserve wild places.
This charity focuses on providing disadvantaged children (especially kids of color) with safe, fun play spaces designed by kids that spark joy and engage the imagination. The suggested minimum donation amount is $25, and that money is used towards funding grants that promote healthy environments for all children. Charity Navigator rating is 87.62/100, 3-star rating.
Doctors Without Borders
This organization works to provide humanitarian aid and medical assistance in areas of conflict, disease, disasters, and where healthcare resources are limited or not available at all. A $5 donation helps to fund medical care for situations such as: expecting mothers, tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment, antibiotics and research for resistant strains, and HIV/AIDS care. Charity Navigator rating is 92.25/100, 4-star rating.
Sharing Is So Much Fun!
Donating money to charity as a kid can be hugely rewarding and allow you the opportunity to share your hard-earned money with others that are less fortunate. Knowing where to donate or making educated choices about what charities are using donated funds wisely is made easier with CharityNavigator, so be sure to check out that resource when you come across a new charity that looks interesting! Charity Navigator cannot evaluate every charity that exists, but this is a great place to start your homework.