Giving to Charities

Evaluating Charities and Foundations

The American Institute of Philanthropy has a detailed overview of evaluating charities and gives information on selecting a charity to support.

American Institute of Philanthropy
National watchdog service whose purpose is to help donors make informed giving decisions.
Arizona Secretary of State Charitable Organizations System
Access to filings of Arizona nonprofits with the AZ Secretary of State. Does not determine if charity is "legitimate."
Better Business Bureau (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance
Collects and distributes information on over 500 nonprofit organizations and offers guidance to donors on making informed giving decisions. Also publishes the quarterly BBB Wise Giving Guide, available in print at the Main Library.
Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona
Check out local charities.
Charity Navigator
An independent charity evaluator, works to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace by evaluating the financial health of America's largest charities. Includes tips, resources,and articles.
Glass Pockets
The Foundation Center's web site that highlights “foundations that have taken the lead in communicating about their work, particularly using online resources and social networks. Designed to inspire greater openness among private foundations, Glasspockets encourages these organizations to tell the stories of their successes — and failures — in part by highlighting exemplary efforts of their peers.”
GuideStar
Provides information about the operations and finances of IRS-recognized nonprofit organizations for grantmakers as well as donors. Provides access to IRS Form 990s which gives detailed financial information. Registration required but it is free.
IRS Cumulative List of Organizations
This online version of IRS Publication 78 allows you to search for qualified organizations to which charitable contributions may be made and deducted if you itemize your deductions. Some organizations such as churches and governments may be qualified even though they are not listed. The IRS does not endorse any charity.
Federal Trade Commission Information on Avoiding Charity Fraud
Provides a checklist and useful tips for evaluating a charity.
IRS Guide to Deductibility of Contributions
This publication explains how to claim a deduction for your charitable contributions. It discusses organizations that are qualified to receive deductible charitable contributions, the types of contributions you can deduct, how much you can deduct, what records to keep, and how to report charitable contributions.

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Online Donations

Ministry Watch
Profiles the largest church and parachurch ministries in the United States. It is also a place where you can learn about how to be a "responsible giver."
Network for Good
Donate online to a large number of nonprofit organizations. Also includes volunteer opportunities and information about donating wisely.

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Direct-giving Websites

DonorsChoose.org
A website connecting classrooms in need with individuals who want to help.
Global Giving
GlobalGiving connects you to over 450 pre-screened grassroots charity projects around the world.
Kiva
Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty. A person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world.
ModestNeeds.org
Allows people to make donations to low-income individuals who need short-term help.

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Pima County Website