4 Great Ways to Donate and Give This Christmas

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Looking for ways to donate this holiday season, but want to give to an impactful cause? Here's 4 charities to give to that wisely manage donations.

The holidays bring out a sense of gratitude in many people, and I don’t know about you but when I feel grateful for what I have, I feel like it’s nice to donate to help others. There are so many ways to donate during the holiday season, and one of the most obvious ways is to give to charity.

Of course, I’m definitely a skeptic so I’ve always wondered if the money I give to charity actually goes to the causes I want to help. Sometimes organizations seem so large that it can be hard to discern if my dollars are really helping anyone.

That’s why I love giving directly to people who need help, but I also recently learned of an organization called Charity Navigator that ranks charities based on how they handle their money and allocate resources. They even have a list of charities that have scored a perfect 100 percent in their ranking system. Let me explain:

According to Charity Navigator, charities that score a 100 percent “execute their missions in a fiscally responsible way while adhering to good governance and other best practices that minimize the chance of unethical activities.” That’s like music to a personal finance blogger’s ears.

I love that I have a list of charities that know how to handle money. It’s not a skill that’s easy to come by so it’s great to know there are organizations in this world that are truly out there helping people and putting donated dollars to good use.

Here are a few examples of organizations you can trust to use your donation money responsibly:

1. Doctors Without Borders

I love this organization because it sends medical teams to help those in extreme situations. According to Charity Navigator they use nearly 88 percent of their funds to give help “in nearly 60 countries to people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe.”

I know my husband has always wanted to work with Doctors Without Borders and as he nears the end of his journey to becoming a practicing physician, at some point in the future we hope he will be able to!

2. MAP International

This is an amazing organization where over 99 percent of their donations go to their initiatives, which help promote health across the world. MAP International does things like distribute free medicine and educate people about preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS.

They also help with disaster relief, like the recent hurricane in Florida, Hurricane Matthew. According to their website, “for every dollar donated, $60 in medicines and medical supplies is given to those in need.” So even a small donation really goes a long way and makes a difference.

3. Puppies Behind Bars

This cleverly named charity has a twofold benefit. First, inmates at prisons train puppies, giving them meaningful work inside the prison walls. Once the prisoners train the dogs successfully, the puppies go to wounded veterans or go to work as law enforcement dogs.

The charity itself has an impressive financial record, with over 85 percent of funds donated going towards their mission. As a dog owner, I know that dogs can be amazing when it comes to brightening your day so I love that with this organization, you help those who are in prison as well as those who have become wounded veterans in service to our country.

Looking for ways to donate this holiday season, but want to give to an impactful cause? Here's 4 charities to give to that wisely manage donations.

4. Donor’s Choose

If you prefer to donate directly to someone, a great website to use is Donor’s Choose. I’ve used this website before, and I absolutely love it. This is a website where teachers can request funds for specific projects and needs.

These needs can be as simple as a new printer and printer paper or as expensive as several iPads or computers for underprivileged youth. I like that you can sort the results based on the school subject you like. So, if you want to support the arts, you can do so. If you want to support the sciences, you can do that too.

You can even sort your results to show you which projects are closest to meeting their goals, so you can be the hero that gives a teacher the last $20 he or she needs to mark a project complete.

Ultimately, there are many great ways to give this holiday season, and with enough research you can make sure that your hard earned money goes directly to the causes you believe in.


What is your favorite charity to give to? What do you look for when choosing a charity to donate to? Do you think it’s good to give if you’re in debt? What charity would you work for or volunteer with if you could?


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Catherine Alford is the go to personal finance expert for parents who want to better their finances and take on a more active financial role in their families.


  • I think the most important thing to do is just pick a charity that’s important to you and make that donation! I prefer to make regular donations out of my paycheck as I think nonprofits greatly appreciate consistency, but I do sometimes make one-time donations. My wife cares a lot about the wolf population (I know, random!) so last Christmas I sponsored a wolf in her name for $50.

  • Dominique says:

    Great information on which charities are the best to donate. It can be scary not knowing fully where your money is going. I think that’s why most people avoid donating in the first place.

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