4 Incredible Websites for Researching Charitable Organizations’ Credibility

2377016484_2c6f359c50_zUnmistakably, non-profit charitable giving has a protracted history in America. In 2014, alone, Americans gave an estimated $358.38 billion to charity, which even surpassed what was seen prior to the Great Recession.  The benchmark year of 2007 saw charitable intake of an estimated inflation-adjusted total of $355.17 billion. As a philanthropist or a donor, it’s important to give to a credible organization.

There are numerous ways to give and countless organization to contribute to. Prior to offering your money to one of the hundreds or thousands of U.S.-based organizations, confirm that organization is legitimate and you’re actually putting your money toward a good cause. There are numerous organizations you can look to, which will over you a clear understanding of charities’ interests and it helps charitable givers/ social investors can make intelligent giving decisions.

Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities , was founded in 2001. The organization’s professional team of analysts have examined thousands of non-profit financial documents. That knowledge has helped to developed objective, unbiased, numbers-based rating system for assessing over 8,000 American charities. They look at a charity’s performance, accountability and transparency, and they find top-rated charities in every field. The charities boosted by the organization have received four-star ratings for consecutive years.

The Better Business Bureau is a nonprofit that’s more than a century old. It consists of 112 independently incorporated local BBB organizations in the U.S. and Canada. Members of the public can search the Better Business Bureau’s website to research domestic and international charities, learning which charities are accredited by the organization.

Charity Watch began as the American Institute of Philanthropy more than 20 years ago. CharityWatch is considered America’s most assertive and independent charity watchdog, helping to demonstrates to the Americans how efficiently a charity will use donations to fund notable programs. They also expose nonprofit abuses and draws in interested advocates. The organization is the site of the American Philanthropic Institute allows anyone to search for info on hundreds of charities.

Google is an extremely visible American multinational technology company that specializes in internet-related services and products. Google is a fundamental tool for searching the web for news, but it’s also instrumental for finding reviews on charities. When using Google, always consider the sources and make sure that everything is backed by factual evidence.

Interested in learning more about charity, giving, and philanthropy visit David Mantek on Twitter

Apple’s Philanthropic History

apple-tim-cook-steve-jobs-david-mantekApple has done quite a bit of corporate giving in recent years. Most recently, Apple launched an initiative surrounding Earth Day that would help raise money for the World Wildlife Fund. When users made purchases within specific apps, they could help raise money for the World Wildlife Fund. This product was called Apps for Earth, and it lasted 10 days during which the World Wildlife Fund received 100% of the proceeds from participating apps.

Apple has clearly made efforts in terms of going green. But the company also cares about giving back to a number of different causes. Apple has donated a lot over the past few years but the company was not always known for giving. When Steve Jobs was the CEO, he believed in contributing to society with the revolutionary products his company made more than through donations to causes. But this changed when Tim Cook became Apple’s CEO.

When Cook first took the lead in April 2011, he quickly implemented a program to match employee donations. Apple even extended its matching program to include employee volunteer time in 2015. Some of Apple’s notable donations include $50 million to Stanford University’s new hospital buildings in 2012, $100 million donated to Project Red, rock star Bono’s organization to help combat HIV/AIDS.

Apple also knows the importance of molding the minds of the future. The company works hard to give educational opportunities to young people throughout the country. Apple has also given $100 million in Apple products and cash grants to ConnectED, a program that gives underprivileged students access to technology in school. Apple has also given $500,000 to a Bay Area antipoverty organization called SF Gives.

In March of 2015, Apple announced a $40 million gift to promote training in technology for women and minorities. This donation was made after Johnny Taylor, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund president, reached out to Apple. In 2014, he met with the human-resources chief of Apple, Denise Young Smith, who was a graduate of historically black college. Mr. Taylor expressed that making a gift would not only be a charitable enterprise but also a “talent proposition” for Apple.

More than $40 million of the donation went to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund in order to support technology training at historically black colleges and universities. The remainder of the money went to the National Center for Women and Information Technology. When this initiative was created, Apple hoped that these donations would lead to the success of many women and minority technology workers who could one day fill careers in the company’s Cupertino, California headquarters.

From caring for the planet to contributing to education, Apple has donated to a number of causes. Apple is making a difference through not only its inventions but its philanthropy, and this is largely thanks to CEO Tim Cook.


5 Ways to Ensure You Give Effectively

donate-654328When it comes to making donations, it’s easy to sign a check and call it day. But if you want your donation to make a real impact, there are measures you can take to ensure your gift is as effective as possible. In fact, there are researchers working on evidence-based approaches to philanthropy, and charities are beginning to measure their own results. This combination will lead to a more thorough understanding and application of charitable gifts. Before all of these findings are shared with us, below are some steps you can take to make your gift more valuable.

1) Find a cause you’re passionate about, and research it.

If you’re looking an organization to donate to, you can brainstorm at sites like GiveWell and Focusing Philanthropy. Both of these sites verify that the nonprofits they list are doing the most with their donations. Once you select an organization, you can search the web for ratings and evaluations of their work.

2) Give more to fewer organizations.

Giving to a select number of organizations benefits you and the organizations you select more effectively. Instead of making smaller donations to a variety of nonprofits, give larger donations to a smaller number of organizations. Your gift will be more impactful, you’re also more likely to understand their work and develop a long-term relationship with the organization.

3) Seek out quantifiable impact.

Select an organization that can provide you with hard data about the number of people they help. Think in broader terms when you research their impact; if there isn’t research by scholars or critiques from journalists, you should be skeptical of the lofty promises the organization makes.

4) Be actively involved.

It’s easy to send a check away and forget about taking any more action, but it’s possible that your cause needs your skill set to accomplish more. There are platforms like VolunteerMatch, Catchafire, and MovingWorlds connecting nonprofits to individuals with the skills to help them accomplish their goals.

5) Make a gift in someone’s name.

Many people are more than happy to support a donation in lieu of a gift. This donation extends your goodwill to the giftee, and to the organization that eventually receives it. Ask the giftee if they have a charity of choice, and you can make a donation to a cause your loved one is passionate about. There is research suggesting that giving is beneficial, it can improve your health and happiness. All signs show that giving is a win-win for all!

To learn more about effectively donating to your cause, please see Forbes.


Run For Charity

A marathon demands everything of the runner. A test of stamina and strength, runners train all year for races. Many marathons prohibit entry for any younger than 18, afraid of the damage such a strenuous activity can have on a developing frame. But a determined girl from Bettendorf looks to change hearts and minds by doing what no one her age has ever attempted.

Amber Thomsen is a 13-year-old with big goals and an even bigger heart A cross-country runner in her high school, Amber took to the sport of professional running with a drive and determination that outmatched her unaDavid Mantekssuming age. Joining the Quad Cities Marathon, this young competitor looks to not only go the distance but raise awareness for a good cause.

Every year, over 1,400 people die due to unsafe drinking water. Young Amber Thomsen is driven not by a desire to be the youngest runner to ever cross the Quad Cities’ finish line, but to raise money for the Moline charity Wells 4 Wellness. An organization dedicated to building wells in impoverished areas of the world, Wells 4 Wellness has done some amazing work, and with AMber’s help, will continue to do more.

Aware of this horrible problem for some time even at such a young age, Amber is running to raise awareness, and maybe raise enough money to dig some wells of her own. With the cost of building a fresh well averaging only $1000, the awareness brought to Wells 4 Wellness by this brave 8th grader can bring about some serious change.

Partnered with her ultra-marathoning father, Amber plans to tackle the 26-mile course with youthful vigor. An avid trainer, Amber has been training for her run while keeping up with Dad’s grueling training regimen. Bored with competitions for her age group, this will be Amber’s fifth marathon, and the young lady is eager as ever. A born philanthropist, Amber has raised money for multiple charities in the past and continues to work toward her goal of $3,000 for Wells 4 Wellness.