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10 worthy charities for the Internet age and the holiday season

The Internet has made charitable giving easier and more transparent. Here are 10 worthy charities for the 21st century and a holiday challenge.

At the risk of sounding like a narcissistic douchebag, I'm going to quote myself here. Well, I'm not really quoting myself as much as linking to myself, and I hope the fact that it's for a good cause will help counterbalance the narcissism of that.

I wrote a post for my personal blog this weekend called Take my holiday challenge: Contribute $25 to 3 of these 10 worthy charities, and afterward I was so excited about the post that I thought I should share it with my readers on TechRepublic because I know there are a lot of generous people here who already give to good causes and are interested in hearing about new ones.

In my post, I mentioned that "The Internet has transformed charitable giving by making it simpler to contribute, more transparent to see how charities spend their money, and easier to learn about how your contributions are helping people." And then, I highlighted 10 charities that take advantage of the Internet age with a good website that makes it easy to donate, a presence on social media such as Twitter and Facebook, etc. Here's my list:

  1. Kiva
  2. Charity: Water
  3. Blood:Water Mission
  4. World Food Programme
  5. Susan G. Komen for the Cure
  6. International Justice Mission
  7. Doctors Without Borders
  8. Red Cross and Red Crescent
  9. Heifer International
  10. Feeding America

If you're interested in seeing why I chose each one and get a link to each charity's website then you can read the full post. I hope some of you will also take my challenge and contribute $25 to three of these charities (or other worthy charities like the Linus Project or Wounded Warriors) this holiday season. If you aren't able to donate this year but would still like to help then you can share the post with your friends to help spread the word.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

21 comments
Dusterman
Dusterman

Soooooooooooooo ... ... everyone on here must be making loads of monay from some of the comments I've seen ,, ,, ,,, ,,, . As for my business it's off by 80% from 2008 .. .. .. I have been fortunate to have good friends, family and a few fantastic customers .. .. .. . This year I was finally able to break even ... ... and I was blessed to be able to gift a used laptop to a local lady that has been out of work for almost 2 years and needs a computer at home so that she doesn't need to go to the library to apply for jobs online. . I am getting ready to gift another computer to a family that needs one for the children to be able to do thier homework on .. .. no it isn't a "gamer" as I was asked by the kids .. .. but it is good enough so that they can get thier homework done and Mom can look for a better job.. ... . To the point folks .. .. it didn't seem like a lot as these were old units taken in trade some time ago and nobody would pay a dime for them .. .. but to these folks .. .. it is a " God send" ... ... . Ask around .. .. churches , radio station dj's, local military bases [ these folks usually can't put two nickels together and need to use the bases computers to talk to their loved ones over seas ] . I'm sure that there a hundred or maybe even a thousand charities that can use a helping hand or refer you to a person who can use a bit of help .. .. just your service on their existing computer could be their Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday .. .. .. . All that I am trying to say is ... ... that even if you or your company is strapped this year you have something to give that few others can match ;-) . Oh shit ........ I just realized that I am preaching to the choir .. ... please excuse my ignorance .. .. . Thank you to all here that have helped me over the years .. .. . Merry Christmas , Happy Hanukka [sp] .. .. Happy Holidays .. .. . Sincerely yours Michael Lewis Owner The Office Connection Denver, CO

bwexler
bwexler

You might check out the Children's Hunger Fund. According to Forbes Magazine they are among the most efficient charities, with more than $.99 of every $1.00 going to the cause. Yes. I do contribute to them.

JCitizen
JCitizen

All is good, but if you want more bang for your buck check out Charity Watch: http://www.charitywatch.org/criteria.html Their criteria points to efficiency, which is an important factor to me. I do give to three that may not rate well there: Salvation Army Red Cross/Crescent - ( I agree with Jason there) United Way

moabrunner
moabrunner

I don't see letting people know what it is all about "bitching". I did recommend my favorite charity. So with this comment are you saying that you support the killing of innocent children in the womb, that have no say in what their pregnant mother is doing to them? @Jason I applaud a TechRepublic for even talking about giving, since it can be such a touchy subject. But I don't go along with the "cant we all just get along?" saying. While I am a geek I am also a Christian and want to make people who do not know aware of the things that I know about a certain charity.

Michael Jay
Michael Jay

While none of us can save the world, we can all help a little, just a little niceness from each one of us will go a long way to a better world. And aside from cash to charities, just helping your neighbors who are having issues is a good thing.

stn1
stn1

....your LOCAL animal shelters and Rescue Organizations always needs pet food, toys, medicine, medical care, bedding, volunteers, animal socializing and foster homes....that goes directly to the animals....

Animal13
Animal13

Get off your high horses and quit your bitch'n. I'll bet half the complainers don't even give to charity. Y'all need to take a chill pill! I applaud Jason for going out on a limb and reminding us of our duty to help others. Instead of bashing Jason's choices, recommend some of your favorites. This is a festive season for celebrating whatever you believe whether it be Chistmas, Hanukkah, or the WInter Solstice. Stay positive and a lot more people will take you seriously. Happy Holidays to all!

jweil
jweil

If a charity is really a charity then the executive management team deserve reasonable compensation for their skills but part of that compensation should be the personal satisfaction that they are doing good instead of a large salary.. Otherwise the charity just becomes a business that profits from clients good will being poorly represented. Unfortunately this is not the case with many of the charities listed. I have no issue with compensating the head of a charity with a salary representative of the middle class if that is their full time occupation. But some of the charities listed compensate their management with middle to upper six figure salaries which are paid first before a dime goes to the cause. Peoples good will should not be support a luxury lifestyle when a charity is involved, yet that is what happens. So how can you tell? Before giving ask for the salary for the CEO of the charity or their last income tax submission. Charitable income tax forms by law are considered public knowledge that should be available on request. If the organization refuses they I suggest you find another worthy cause. CEO salaries are listed on these forms by law. You then have to decide if the CEO is getting a reasonable salary for their effort. My guidelines are as follows: For any charity where the CEO earns over $200K I take my money somewhere else. For a local (not national) organization around $100K is my maximum limit. While this may seem high to many, very few charities actually fall within these guidelines. When choosing to give, I evaluate the cause and its effect and scope in relation to the CEO's salary. For many even $50K is too much. For others I may let my limit slip a little but never above $250K. Charities claim they need to pay this much to get good people to run them. I say if it takes that amount of money to attract a person to run it, then that person is not doing it for the cause, but for the money and image. When I give to a charity or non-profit I want my money to go for the cause, not to support someone's luxurious lifestyle.

jbergman
jbergman

Yep - I agree with Shane. This was a BAD choice! Giving money to a front for Planned Parenthood is certainly NOT on my Christmas giving list!

jwhite
jwhite

Just remember, the moment you think you can tell others what they can do with their bodies, and whether or not they should pursue & support another life in this overpopulated world, YOU yourself need to be directly financially & emotionally responsible for all the lives you force women to bring into this world. If you're not going to give the time, support, and pay the bills, you have absolutely no right to force others to bring lives into this world that they can't support. Life isn't a right for any creature in this universe, including human beings or fetuses. You should know that by now. Sometimes the ending of a life is the only gift you can give something or someone that would otherwise suffer tremendously.

Roc Riz
Roc Riz

that ANYONE should tell a woman what she should do with her body. Any group that touts itself as a charity, and then treats women with such disrespect, will not get a red cent out of me! BTW-- I'm a Pastafarian myself, not that it matters!

Roc Riz
Roc Riz

guidestar.org. You can see their IRS 990s there, and part of that is the salaries of their executives. They also have a lot of other information on an awful lot of charities out there. It has helped me quite a bit, by weeding out the bad ones.

bergenfx
bergenfx

Jweil, I agree with you in part that as donors it is our responsibility to ensure the efficient delivery of charitable services. As others have noted on this thread, there are many resources which rate and benchmark charities based on such criteria. I have been referring to them for assistance for years. I do take exception, however, to the notion that workers in the charitable sector need to be self-sacrificing saints. One of my sons has worked in the charitable sector for over a decade, and he could easily make more in the private sector. While I am sure there are some salaries that are out of scale, the figures you use for a guideline for CEOs is extremely low compared to what these people could make doing similar things outside of the charitable sector. I am not sure why someone who has chosen that line of work should be boxed into lower salaries then they could make elsewhere. Your contention that "personal satisfaction" from working for a good cause should be part of their compensation doesn't wash with me. Shouldn't we all get personal satisfaction from designing safe bridges for the public, providing relevant, unbiased news, keeping our streets safe, educating our children, or developing software that helps people do any of the above?

mla_ca520
mla_ca520

Planned Parenthood has been demonized because they offer women the option of abortion. They are also the only health care than many people receive. They helped my wife (decades before she became my wife) by diagnosing a thyroid condition and helping her get some thyroid medication. They helped her with counseling, when she decided as a teenager to have her baby and they provided her with counseling when she lost that baby pre-term several months later. This is a good organization to support!

jweil
jweil

I find your response interesting from the fact that it contains things that I find I probably should have been made more apparent as well as contentions that were not made. First of all, I did not say that the head of a charity should be a "self sacrificing saint" . I would contend that if the head of a national charity is making $250K is not sacrificing very much if at all. I agree with you completely that some of reward for working for a non-profit or charity is personal satisfaction you get from helping the cause. That said if one feels "boxed in" salary wise and is not getting enough personal reward for their efforts, they should go back to the private sector where profit is everything so that they can get what they think they deserve. Working for a non-profit should not be based on monetary compensation or recognition yet far too often it is used for just that reason. A person who decides to work for a non-profit should not expect to get near the same salary that they could in the private sector and that part of their compensation should be in the results of the work they do - on what they are freely contributing to society. Most of the example you mention are jobs in the private sector and very few of those jobs get 6 figure salaries. What I find so ironic is that "celebrities" get huge monitory rewards for entertainment while some of the professions you mentioned can hardly keep a roof over their heads. Personally I think from this respect the country has it head turned upside down. Getting personal satsifaction should be part of the reward from any job, but more so from a non-profit. I have historically research some of the charities listed. When you add up salaries, overhead, marketing, and advertising, $,80 to $.90 of every dollar that they take in goes to the above, leaving $.10 of that dollar to the actual cause. While that dime certainly helps, think of all the good that could be done if the non-profit employes and their vendors were not lining their pockets with diners hard earned money. With non-profits a donor gets nothing back other then the satisfaction they are funding something that needs such funding and the money will be used for a good cause. In the public sector, the "donor" is receiving goods or services for their money. From my perspective a "good cause" does not mean the management team of a non-profit living high on the hog". As to the comment below, I read sometime ago that CEO's of American based companies earn 10 times what the equivalent European CEO makes. Yes we do need to lower CEO salaries, golden parachutes, and stop rewarding them with high payouts for failure when they leave. It is about time that management employment contracts contain a clause that states no bonuses for failure.

mla_ca520
mla_ca520

Thanks bergenfx, I was having the same reaction to Jweil's comments. My grandfather once said to me that teachers didn't need to make good salaries, because we really want the people who love teaching so much they'd do it for free. On some non-well reasonsed level, this makes sense for teaching, running a charity, etc., however in a practical sense, don't we want the best and the smartest to be our teachers? Also, shouldn't that same criterion apply to the private sector too? Shouldn't we only want someone to be a CEO of a major corporation, who loves it so much he/she would do it for free? Couldn't we lower their salaries substantially with that reasoning?

ray.menzel
ray.menzel

the celebrities and athletes. They are bringing in the "millions" and do not even work all year! But wait a minute, most consumers are so absorbed into their TV, they could not do without it and are willing to pay whatever it takes. I say, get a life and get away from TV!

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