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.

6. World Resources Institute

The environment is a hot button issue these days. And there are a confounding number of local, regional, national and international organizations promoting awareness and seeking solutions for environmental issues.

It can be hard to find a really good one, but the World Resources Institute tops our list. Across 50 countries, the institute maintains research projects and implements actionable results in six key areas: climate, water, energy, food, forests and cities/transport.

A recent successful two-year project saw the implementation of greenhouse gas emission standards in 27 cities within Latin America and China, including some of the world’s worst polluters, like Beijing. The institute boasts some impressive internal numbers as well, with nearly 86 percent of its budget going straight to its international programs. Considering its sizable $50 million in annual revenue, it also has a modestly paid president, Andrew Steer, whose salary is $131,897, just 0.27 percent of the institute’s budget.

Compare this to Frederic D. Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, who takes home $485,738 annually, 0.42 percent of his fund’s budget.

7. United Way Worldwide

No discussion of charity is complete without mentioning the United Way, one of the most well-known organizations in the world.

While it has had its share of issues in the past, including one national and two city CEOs dismissed or prosecuted for financial mismanagement between 1992 and 2004, the future of the United Way looks bright.

Since its inception in 1887, the organization has been committed to providing community-based resources in three major areas, education, income and health in the U.S. and abroad. In 2009, the two arms of the charity, United Way of America and United Way International, merged to form United Way Worldwide. According to Charity Navigator, it received nearly $100 million in 2012, more than 90 percent of which went toward funding its community-based programs.

When making a charitable gift this holiday season, you can feel jolly about that merry statistic. One that’s not so happy, however: CEO Brian A. Gallagher was paid $1.2 million in 2012, which was 1.29 percent of its revenue.

What’s your favorite charity? Let us know who and why in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

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