Today is Giving Tuesday, also known as the national day of giving. The day was created in response to the spending frenzy associated with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. However, rather than benefiting retailers, Giving Tuesday was created to benefit charitable organizations.
The day was chosen by New York's 92nd Street Y, which is a nonprofit community center in New York. As the national day of giving gained popularity, The United Nations Foundation joined the effort to raise awareness.
In 2012, the group raised more than $10 million in donations for 2,500 nonprofit organizations. Although the group distributes the funds to numerous organizations, they also encourage individuals and families to contribute their time and money to other local and national causes.
While many people are feeling charitable during the holiday season, it can be difficult to choose a worthy and reputable cause. Unfortunately, questionable organizations often choose names which are similar to well-respected charities. Thankfully, there are resources that can help donors choose worthy causes and avoid scams.
The Charity Navigator website provides a search tool to help donors research charities. The search results include the charity's category, cause, registration information, rating, and detailed financial records.
In addition to the search tool, the website provides lists of charities that are reputable and those to avoid.
On Giving Tuesday, there are 10 charities that donors should definitely avoid. All 10 organizations have consistently received "extremely poor" ratings as they have been found to "perform far below industry standards and below nearly all similar charities."
Charities to avoid include:
- Firefighters Charitable Foundation
- National Veterans Services Fund, Inc
- Children's Charity Fund, Inc
- The Committee for Missing Children
- Wishing Well Foundation USA
- Shiloh International Ministries
- Texas Stampede
- Disabled Police Officers Counseling Center
- State of Florida Association of Police Athletic/Activities Leagues, Inc.
- United States Deputy Sheriff's Association
Charity Navigator also provides a list of the top 10 highly rated organizations.
The most reputable organizations include:
- Carnegie Institution for Science
- The Children's Aid Society
- American Endowment Foundation
- Energy Outreach Colorado
- Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
- Harlem Children's Zone
- Institute for Justice
- Compassion International
- National Education for Assistance Dog Services
- Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
[Image via Shutterstock]