Tuesday, August 19, 2008

How to find a hunger-related charity

This past week, during my Celebration of Food, I have asked my readers to consider making a donation to their favorite hunger-related charity in recognition of the worldwide food price crisis. I have highlighted a few different charities, but I realize not everyone may have their own favorites picked out...or even know where to look.

So I'd like to do my part to help anyone who is looking for resources.

There are two great websites that rate charities according to various criteria:

Charity Navigator - http://www.charitynavigator.org/ - This site gives charities a star rating, from zero to four, based on organizational efficiency and organizational capacity. This is a great resource for articles, such as "Top 10 Best Practices of Savvy Donors," and lists, like "10 of the Best Charities Everyone's Heard of." You can search for charity keywords or browse by categories for thousands of different organizations.

American Institute of Philanthropy - http://www.charitywatch.org/ - This site also rates charities, but it does not cover as many organizations as Charity Navigator's site or include as many additional articles. AIP, however, emphasizes their independence and their own financial evaluation of the charities, rather than relying on charities' self-reported information. Charities are given a letter score of A to F, and there is an index of "Top-Rated Charities."

Together, I find these sites to be excellent tools to learn about some the different charities that exist, how they measure up, and how to give wisely.


Rebecca said...

Okay – here’s a plug for my organization: UNICEF is on the ground in 150 countries with programs in the health, water and sanitation, HIV/AIDS, education, and child protection sectors. UNICEF has one of the largest supply networks in the world and is always one of the first on the scene in a crisis. (During the Myanmar crisis, UNICEF was one of the only humanitarian organizations allowed to distribute supplies.) For more details go to www.unicefusa.org.

What I personally appreciate about UNICEF is its holistic approach. For example, we’re working now in crisis-torn Georgia, sending medical supplies and vaccinations, food supplements, potable water and sanitation supplies, and are setting up temporary school facilities so that kids can begin school on time in September. After the crisis, we also work with the community affected teaching them how to organize and rebuild so that can be self-sustainable.

I wouldn’t work for UNICEF if I didn’t believe in the organization. (UNICEF has a four-star rating on Charity Navigator.) I’ve also seen first-hand how our involvement changes lives. However, if you choose to support a smaller organization, that’s wonderful. In fact, UNICEF hires/supports many small in-country NGOs to carry out their work.

Well, I didn’t want to take up too much room on Holly’s blog, so that’s my quick-and-dirty. In reading her postings, however, I also had another thought: what about supporting causes that work with those who use too much food? Childhood obesity is an epidemic in this country. I believe that is largely due to the way we process our food, not to mention all the marketing we’re blasted with daily. Well, this is all an argument for another day – food for thought, you might say!

Rebecca said...

Oh - one more thing! Thanks, Holly for reminding us of the food crisis situation. Great posts this week!

alexlady said...

Great posts, Holly. That Charity Navigator is great, it's how we decided on our charity for the wedding donation!


Holly said...

Thanks for giving us a quick scoop on UNICEF, Rebecca! Perhaps you can do a guest entry on my blog at some point?

Thanks, Alex! I forget, which charity did you have?