As the holiday season approaches, we can easily become distracted by our expansive to-do lists and lose sight of the important things. Wrapped up in our shopping, decorating, cooking, hosting, and endless errands, it’s easy to forget about what the holidays are really about. One way to exemplify the gratitude, kindness, and positivity associated with this season is to give back to those in need.
There are multiple non-profits and charitable organizations to choose from, and it can be difficult to find the best cause towards which to extend our generosity. If you’re interested in donating, but are having trouble deciding which organization you’d like to focus on, here’s a list of the top-rated charities for five different causes. We’ve also included the organization’s Charity Navigator score, which is calculated by the organization’s financial health, accountability, and overall transparency.
• International Aid
Direct Relief (93/100)
With an emphasis on health services, disease prevention, and medical resources, Direct Relief provides emergency supplies to those affected by natural disasters and poverty. Most recently, this organization has provided medical aid for victims of Hurricane Maria, Hurricane Harvey, Central Mexico’s earthquakes, and the Northern California wildfires. If you’re looking to contribute, you can donate on their website, donate assets or vehicles, host a fundraiser, or volunteer for one of their programs. Learn more at https://www.directrelief.org.
Action Against Hunger (93/100)
Action Against Hunger is at the forefront of creating global change to fight against hunger. Their health programs focus on adequate nutrition, water sanitation, and providing long-term solutions for food security. They also work with local governments around the world to provide emergency aid for affected populations. Their network has served nearly 15 million people across 50 countries. Those that are interested in giving can donate money, assets, or host a fundraising campaign. Check out their website at https://www.actionagainsthunger.org.
National Alliance to End Homelessness (91/100)
The National Alliance to End Homelessness advocates for improved federal policies regarding homelessness and offers rapid re-housing to provide homeless individuals with short-term rental assistance. They work to provide individuals and families with the resources they need to become self-sufficient. You can help their cause by donating directly to the Alliance, sponsoring their annual events, purchasing products on their website, or advocating for Homeless Services Programs by contacting Congress through their website. Visit their site at https://endhomelessness.org.
• Animal Welfare
PetSmart Charities (94/100)
PetSmart Charities saves 400,000 pets every year through their programs. They fund local animal welfare groups throughout North America, advocating for the adoption of homeless pets and providing spay/neuter surgeries to limit future populations of homeless animals. If you’d like to get involved, you can donate directly at a PetSmart store or through their website, volunteer to work with animals at a partner organization, or become an adoption partner. Learn more at https://www.petsmartcharities.org.
• The Environment
Waterkeeper Alliance (90/100)
Waterkeeper Alliance is a non-profit focused on the preservation of clean water for drinking, fishing, and swimming. They protect over 2.5 million square miles of waterways across six continents, holding industrial polluters accountable for their actions, advocating for environmental protection laws, and educating communities about their mission. You can get involved by volunteering with one of their Waterkeeper organizations, donating to their cause, or attending one of their local events. Learn more on their website at http://waterkeeper.org.
Whatever your holiday plans may be, taking the time to give back is an amazing way to make a lasting difference in your local community and beyond.