Charities Review: 25 Top Charities, Part II of II

Rounding out our two-part series on charities evaluation, this week we bring you the opposite of last week’s  report on the top 25 worst charities with the top 25 Best Charities in terms of Return on Donation (ROD), i.e. how much of your donation actually goes to the intended purpose/person rather than the costs of solicitation.

The below list was prepared (and reprinted with permission) from Forbes:

Values calculated November 2013

Rank Name Private Support ($mil) Total Revenue ($mil) Fundraising Efficiency (%)  
1

United Way

3,926 4,260 91
2

Salvation Army

1,885 4,078 89
3

Task Force for Global Health

1,660 1,664 100
4

Feeding America

1,511 1,554 98
5

Catholic Charities USA

1,447 4,393 95
6

Goodwill Industries International

949 4,895 97
7

Food for the Poor

891 900 97
8

American Cancer Society

889 925 76
9

The Y-YMCA

827 6,240 85
10

World Vision

826 1,014 87
11

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

802 972 83
12

Boys & Girls Clubs of America

699 1,573 87
13

American National Red Cross

687 3,118 75
14

Habitat for Humanity International

674 1,492 83
15

Feed the Children

614 618 94
16

Compassion International

596 599 91
17

Nature Conservancy

536 797 84
18

AmeriCares Foundation

525 526 98
19

American Heart Association

511 618 84
20

Campus Crusade for Christ

503 548 91
21

United States Fund for UNICEF

498 502 93
22

Direct Relief

392 392 100
23

Mayo Clinic

380 3,739 92
24

Lutheran Services in America

373 20,980 81
25

CARE USA

369 558 94

SPECIAL EDITION: Charity Scams – Spotting Them & Guardian Go-To Info Sites

earthquake
(Given the breaking news, this is a compilation piece, thanks to news coverage and background information from CNN, FOX, AARP and Scambusters. )

After tragedy strikes – as it did this Sunday, August 24, 2014 in California — expect two immediate reactions: Well-intentioned people will want to give donations. And scammers will want to take them.

Within hours of any disaster, charity scams go into full swing. Even before  Superstorm Sandy made landfall, 1,000 new websites with “Sandy,” “relief” or related keyword search terms in them had been registered, many of them by scammers.

Some of the bogus websites seek your credit card number to collect supposed donations, possibly also using that information later for identity theft. Others infect your computer with malware that can ferret out sensitive information, such as your account numbers or passwords.

Fraudsters also do their work by blasting out thousands of spam emails, text messages and phone calls. They get their word out on Facebook and Twitter and even go door-to-door.

“Tragedies inspire people to give,” says H. Art Taylor of the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. “After every natural disaster and manmade catastrophe, we see an outpouring of generosity … along with the inevitable scams and frauds. We urge donors to take the time to make sure their donations are going to legitimate charities.”   Here’s how:

1. Check it out

Before donating to a charity, take time to authenticate it. In addition to the Wise Giving Alliance, charity names and reputations can be vetted at Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, Scambusters and GuideStar. You can also contact the agency in your state that regulates charities. Be suspicious of charities not listed or with questionable track records.

2. Don’t let them in

Unless you previously donated to an organization and have already provided your contact information, it’s wise to assume that an unsolicited donation request by email or phone is a scam. Don’t click on links in emails, Facebook or Twitter; they can unleash computer malware.

3. Examine the Web address

When using an Internet search engine to find charities, treat the results pages with caution. Carefully read organizations’ Internet addresses before clicking on them. Scammers often create rogue websites with sly misspellings, tweaks or sound-alike names. Also know that legitimate nonprofit organizations typically end in .org, not .com.

We know your hearts are big.   Certainly, donate if you can and want to but be careful and be smart.

BNI Operatives: Street smart; info savvy.

As always, stay safe.