7 Charities Offering the Biggest Bang for the Buck

Whether your passion is animals, veterans or the environment, here's a list of charities where your money will do the most good.

3. PetSmart Charities

While my personal preference is giving to local animal rescues (find one nearest to you here), PetSmart has created one of the best large-scale animal charities, with both a national and international presence.

Its mission is to provide adoption resources for homeless pets, and it collaborates with countless local organizations to make it happen. Many local rescues hold adoption events within PetSmart stores. PetSmart Charities is also committed to putting your donation to good use: According to Charity Navigator, nearly 90 cents of every dollar goes directly to its programs. (Compare this to PETA’s also respectable but lower 84 cents).

Finally, if you’ve ever shopped at a PetSmart retail store, you’ve experienced the option to donate when you use a PIN pad at the register. If you’ve never donated before because you weren’t sure where the money went, rest easy: 100 percent of it goes to PetSmart Charities.

Now that you know what the charity is all about, you can feel confident that giving a few bucks at your checkout will go toward making a major difference in the lives of animals worldwide.

4. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is the mother of all cancer charities, with annual total revenue of about $1 billion, more than 84 percent of which is allocated directly to their programs and services. Compare this to St. Jude’s Research Hospital, which uses just 69.3 percent.

So why do more cents out of every Dana-Farber dollar go toward programs? It keeps its fundraising costs low, at 2 percent of its total budget. St. Jude’s, by comparison, spends more than 20 percent of its revenue on fundraising.

5. DonorsChoose.org

Chances are you know at least one teacher, which means you also know the struggles encountered daily within the public school system: outdated textbooks, insufficient supplies and overcrowded classrooms.

Fortunately, a charity such as DonorsChoose.org exists in order to combat the problems of the classroom, tackling fixable issues that put up barriers to learning. DonorsChoose.org allows charitable individuals or organizations to choose which project they’d like to fund, providing updates and interactions with the students and teachers who benefit from the selected contribution.

This innovative approach has allowed it to fund more than 400,000 classroom projects since its inception in 2000. DonorsChoose.org also makes the grade in efficiency: 94.4 percent of its budget goes directly to students and teachers in need.

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