Donating to charity comes with inherent risk. They don’t have government organizations or investors to keep them in check—only "watchdog organizations"—and even then they’re not always effective. (In 2012, for instance, one charity for blind veterans only used 20 percent of the donations to help blind veterans.)
But we're here to help find the best charities to donate money to this holiday season (or any season). We used the American Institute of Philanthropy’s CharityWatch list—a list that comprehensively rates charities on:
• percent spent on charitable purpose (this should be high)
• cost to raise $100 (this should be low)
• years of available assets (this should be low if the cause really needs the money)
Below are CharityWatch’s top rated organizations in various fields. No "Human Funds" or "T.B.A.s" included.