Today is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, also known as Giving Tuesday. Unlike Black Friday and Cyber Monday, where you shop for friends, family, co-workers (and maybe a little something for yourself, too!) today is where you're encouraged to "shop" for people you will likely never meet by donating to a charity.
Just like any other shopping, buyers should beware. There are scam places masquerading as legitimate charities, and it can be sometimes hard to distinguish between the two. I rely heavily on a site called Charity Navigator
to suss out which is the real deal and which is a scam. Charity Navigator rates charities on a scale of 1 to 4 (4 being the best, 1 being the worst), grading them on how much of their donations goes to the actual cause, among other important factors. Charity Navigator doesn't catalog every
charity, but they have a lot in their database, so if you've been mulling a particular charity but weren't sure if they were a "good" one, click the link above and enter their name. Their stats might come up.
Here are some of the charities I give to, listed in no particular order. If one of them strikes your interest, please consider giving something. If none of them stir your interest, there are limitless worthy charities in need of support. And if you're in a position where you simply can't give anything, don't feel bad. Most of us (raises hand) have been there, too, and remember: not all gifts are monetary in nature. As Mother Theresa once said: "Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing."
However, if you're thinking, "I'll wait until later, when I have more money, instead of giving just a tiny bit now" might I encourage you to give that tiny bit anyway? Most of these sites accept donations as small as $5 or $10, and a tiny amount now is worth more than a hundred "later's," in my opinion. Imagine what a difference it could make in a needy child, adult, or animal's life if everyone who intended to donate "later" gave just a tiny bit now, too? Many charities have gift matching promotions today for Giving Tuesday, so every dollar you donate gets matched and thus doubles or even triples. That $5 or $10 might only seem like a drop now, but enough drops can turn into a mighty rainstorm :).Wounded Warrior Project:
a military and veterans charity service organization empowering injured veterans and their families. 3 out of 4 rating on Charity Navigator.Joyful Heart Foundation:
outreach to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. 4 out of 4 rating on Charity Navigator.ASPCA:
works to rescue animals from abuse, pass humane laws and share resources with shelters nationwide. 3 out of 4 rating on Charity Navigator.Children International:
fights poverty and helps children in need through our programs, community centers and more. 3 out of 4 rating on Charity Navigator.C.A.R.E.:
a worldwide movement dedicated to ending poverty, putting women and girls in the center because we know that we cannot overcome poverty until all people have equal rights and opportunities. 3 out of 4 rating on Charity Navigator.Shared Hope
: dedicated to bringing an end to sex trafficking. 4 out of 4 rating on Charity Navigator.St. Jude:
a leading children's hospital pioneering research and treatments for kids with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. 3 out of 4 rating on Charity Navigator.Covenant House:
serving homeless youth with a network of shelters across the Americas. 3 out of 4 rating on Charity Navigator.U.N.I.C.E.F.:
The United Nations Children's Fund works for children's rights, survival, development and protection. 3 out of 4 rating on Charity Navigator.International Rescue Committee (IRC)
: responds to the world's worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives. 4 out of 4 rating on Charity Navigator.Save The Children:
In the United States and around the world, gives girls and boys a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. 4 out of 4 rating on Charity Navigator.Paws For Hope:
helping animals who suffer and die every year because of negligence and abuse.