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Giving Tips

Tips for Giving This Holiday Season

Charity Navigator offers the following guidelines to ensure your holiday contributions are well-spent.

  • Review last year's charitable investments
  • Be specific
  • Look under the hood
  • Donate online
  • Concentrate your giving

Read the Tips

Top 10 List Expanded
Highest and Lowest-Rated Charities by Cause

We offer the following list as a quick reference guide to the highest and lowest-rated charity in each cause that we evaluate. In providing this list, our goal is to help you navigate the crowded charitable marketplace and make intelligent giving decisions.
View the List

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We work hard for you all year long so we hope you'll include us in your year-end giving plans.

Giving Facts

  • Contributions are deductible in the year made. Thus, donations charged to a credit card before the end of 2015 count for 2015. This is true even if the credit card bill isn't paid until 2016. Also, checks count for 2015 as long as they are mailed in 2015 and clear, shortly thereafter.
  • American donated approximately 2% of disposable income to charity in 2014, a percentage which has not changed significantly in decades, regardless of the strength of the economy.
  • The average annual household charitable donation is $2,974.
  • Online giving comprises less than 10% of total giving but outpaces the growth of giving overall.
  • More than 30% of annual giving via Network for Good's donation processing system is during December.
  • Charity Navigator's data shows that 7 out of 10 charities we've evaluated spend at least 75% of their budget on the programs and services they exist to provide. And 9 out of 10 spend at least 65%.
  • Five types of charities have reached or surpassed all-time high giving levels since the recession ended in mid-2009. Giving to Education charities was up 4.9% to $54.6 billion. Donations to Human Services charities were up 3.6% to $42.1 billion. Foundations saw an increase of 1.8% to $41.5 billion. Health charities experienced an increase of 5.5% to $30.4 billion. Charities that focus on the environment / Animals saw an increase of 7% to $10.5 billion.
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If even a third of the 7 million people who visited our site last year had donated a dollar to Charity Navigator, we would comfortably meet our annual budget and be able to do what so many of you ask us to do every day--rate more charities!

With the support of users like you, we are currently investing in staff and technology. This will allow us to improve the search and organizational features of our site, making it easier to find the information that matters most to you. We will also continue to enhance our evaluation system and metrics.

So, whether you're a first time visitor or a long time user, we ask for your help in achieving our goal. Your gift of any size is most deeply appreciated! Thank You!

With the support of users like you, we are making it easier to find the info that matters most. Thank you!

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