50+ Online Tools to Research, Select, and Donate to Charities

By Heather Christopher

Deciding to donate to a charity, whether it’s on a regular schedule or a one-time contribution, will undoubtedly benefit a community’s disadvantaged condition. Finding the right charity and making sure your donations are used appropriately is a little more complicated. The following list highlights more than 50 websites and online tools that will help you connect with the charitable organization that best fits your cause.

U.S. Charities

These databases post information about charities that operate in the United States. Check them out for finding the best search tools and more.

  1. IRS Search for Charities: The Internal Revenue Service provides a list of charities that are approved for receiving tax-deductible donations.
  2. Care Clicks: This website allows online shoppers to donate to their favorite organization every time they purchase something from a participating online retailer. Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, and eBay are all registered partners. Search the database at CareClicks.com to find charities that deserve your support.
  3. America’s Charities:
    America’s Charities love to put children first and health first, but they
    also connect donors with animal, civil and environmental rights groups.
  4. Charity Navigator: Charity Navigator is “your guide to intelligent giving.” Use the charity evaluator tool to find the organizations that are most desperate for financial aid.
  5. Charity Guide: The Charity Guide provides information for volunteers who want to support their favorite issues by making changes in their own lives, meeting up with other volunteers in their communities, or by making a donation. Search issues like animal welfare, community development, health and safety, children’s issues, environmental protection and poverty.
  6. National Relief Charities: The NRC sponsors seven different programs to help support Native American communities across the country. Visit their website to find more information on donating to the Navajo Relief Fund, the Sioux Nation Relief Fund and others.
  7. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital: St. Jude’s Hospital is a top U.S. charity that offers several different donation and gift options for a variety of supporters.
  8. Melissa DATA: If you know the name or tax ID for the charity you wish to donate, you can use this tool to research their organization.
  9. Sports Charities USA: Find all sports-related charities in the U.S. with the help of this resource.
  10. CFCNCA: The Combined Federal Campaign of the National Capital Area connects donors and nonprofit groups in the Washington, D.C. area.
  11. Health and Medical Research Charities of America: Search for American charities devoted to medical research by keyword or state.

International Charities

If you want to donate to an organization abroad, check out these resources to make sure your money is directed to the right place.

  1. Charities Aid Foundation: The CAF website supports a database of over 167,000 charities, including many international organizations.
  2. Charity Choice: Charity Choice is “the premier guide to charities in the UK.” Search for charities in the online database, make your donation through their secure payment system and track your donation to see exactly how it’s helping others.
  3. Register of Charities: This government-sponsored website allows users to search its database for UK-based charities.
  4. Network for Good: Use this one-stop donation station to search for charities, make donations, and maintain records of your tax deductions.
  5. Combined Federal Campaign - Overseas: Search for charities by organization name, keyword or program to connect you with international CFC projects.
  6. International Charity Help: Search for charities all over the world or catch up on the latest news in the international nonprofit sector.
  7. Kids International: Kids International donates to children’s charities through its online shopping network.
  8. Universal Giving: This resource currently offers over 500 opportunities for donors to contribute to international causes via the Internet. Search focus areas like poverty, conflict resolution, gender and equality and the arts, or browse by geographic region.
  9. Idealist.org:
    Search for volunteer opportunities, jobs with nonprofit organizations, or
    opportunities to donate to meaningful causes all around the world.
  10. Justgiving: Set up an account to donate to needy foundations in some of the world’s poorest countries. Search for charities specializing in emergency relief, children, disability, education, health and more.
  11. Build Africa: Access information on funding the building of a school, home or community in Africa. Donors can contribute any amount they wish in pounds, dollars or euros.

Search Engine Donation Stations

These search engines contribute a percentage of their revenue to charities each time you utilize their services.

  1. Charity Cafe: Using Charity Cafe’s Ask.com-powered search engine creates a “free donation” to Greenpeace USA, WWF, or Oxfam.
  2. GoodSearch: The search engine GoodSearch donates 50 percent of its revenue to the nonprofit organizations “designated by its users. Visit their site to add your school or organization to the list.
  3. Search and Give: Search and Give is another search engine-driven organization that supports member-selected charities. Create a Microsoft account with Search and Give to register your favorite groups.
  4. EveryClick.com: EveryClick.com is a one-click search engine that lets users select charities to support when they search for news stories, images and shopping sites online.
  5. Search Kindly:
    Search Kindly’s search engine is powered by Google, so users know they’re
    getting the best search results on the Web.
  6. GoodTree: Set up your own personal profile with GoodTree, which organizes your photos, causes, friends, and messages. Network with other donors while you search for charities to support each time you look something up on the Internet.
  7. Magic Taxi: This British-based site advertises itself as “the web’s happiest search engine.” Why? Probably because 50% of all of their ad revenue goes to charity.
  8. ClickNow: For ClickNow, “charity begins at [their] homepage.” Add your school or nonprofit group to the list for extra financial support.
  9. Clicks4Cancer: Clicks4Cancer is an easy-to-use search engine that features popular links like CNN.com, Digg.com, BestBuy, YouTube and more for one-click searches.
  10. Catch Tomorrow: Help fund the U.S. public education system by using this all-inclusive search engine.
  11. Searchgive: Searchgive.com is “where searching becomes giving.” Charities like the American Red Cross, Oprah’s Angel Network and Save the Children benefit from your searches.

Research Services

These tools will help you conduct background checks on charities before you decide to donate.

  1. American Institute of Philanthropy: This “charity watchdog” provides information for donors who want to ensure that their contributions go to the most deserving organizations. Find out which charities award the greatest salaries to top executives, which groups receive the most donations yearly, and more.
  2. GuideStar: Conduct thorough background checks on over 1 million nonprofit organizations. GuideStar.org also has tips for “giving wisely” and understanding your rights as a donor.
  3. Give.org: Give.org urges individuals to “investigate before you donate.” Use their services to learn about charity standards, charity enrollment and more.
  4. Intelligent Giving: View charity profiles to read reviews, find award winners and conduct your own “DIY research” before you donate.
  5. Charitable Gift: The website Charitable Gift provides tools for researching various organizations.

Tools to Help you Donate

Below are more tools to help you donate securely and effectively.

  1. CAF Charity Account: The Charities Aid Foundation allows donors to set up an account through their system for “easy, flexible and tax-efficient” transactions.
  2. Vetting Charities: How to research their effectiveness: Use this guide to help you determine whether or not your favorite charity really needs your next donation.
  3. How to Choose a Charity: This crash course in charity giving provides information on deciding how much to donate, finding a charity that fits your personality and more.
  4. SoYouWanna donate to charity?: Follow this guide to picking worthy charities that often get looked over.
  5. PayPal: PayPal offers reduced rates for charities receiving electronic transactions.
  6. 20+ Charity and Fundraising Tools: Check out this list of websites and resources for connecting with your favorite charities.

Miscellaneous Resources

Check out these extra resources for additional help on locating and contributing to your favorite charities.

  1. CharityVillage.com: Get tips on choosing a charity, find opportunities to volunteer in your community, and read information about recycling and donating your used cars, clothes and more.
  2. Charity Scams: Read this article to educate yourself on frauds lurking within the nonprofit sector.
  3. Make a Donation: The charity resource center on this website provides links to various support services like the U.S. Government Nonprofit Gateway, Philanthropy News Digest, and tax information for figuring out your deductibles.
  4. Catholic Charities USA: Find out how you can support Catholic-sponsored charities in the U.S. with the resources offered on this site.
  5. Donation Line: If you’re in the market for a new car, consider donating your old vehicle to a charity that needs it.
  6. TheNonprofits.com: Click on a charity to “donate for free.” Participating sponsors contribute a donation each time you select a charity, like Forest Watch, Hunger Fighters and more.
  7. How to Donate to Charities Wisely: Your heart may be in the right place, but it’s easy to become overwhelmed in the process of researching and selecting a charity. Get tips on how to figure out the donating basics by reading this article.
  8. With Causes: Gather information from this faith-based site on how to donate cash, boats, cars, real estate and electronics to help out a charity.

Though this list only covers the top 52 online resources for investigating charities, there are even more organizations and nonprofits that are dedicated to improving the lives of children, animals and countries all over the world. Conduct background checks to find out how your donation will be used, network with other donors to learn more about different organizations, and continue to remain aware of the major issues affecting our communities.

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