How to Find the Best Charities to Donate to in 2023

Photo: WFP/Ali Jadallah/2023
World Food Program USA
Published November 23, 2021
Last Updated November 20, 2023

When disaster strikes like the conflict in Gaza, many of us may feel helpless or unsure of how to help affected communities. Making a donation is one of the most effective ways you can support a people in crisis.

Are you looking to make a difference during this time, but not sure which charity to donate to? It’s a bit of a jungle out there, with thousands of organizations to choose from – and there are important questions to consider about how donations and resources are used.

Read on for some insider insight and six tips to help you find a charity so you can give to Gaza and other causes you care about in the best, most effective way possible. And to no surprise, we’ll let you know exactly how World Food Program USA meets all the qualifications for the kind of organization you can trust with your hard-earned money.

First Up: Find a Cause You Care About

Take a minute to think about what you’re passionate about. Choosing a cause that resonates with you makes giving that much more fun – and fulfilling. It could be an issue-based cause like hunger, poverty, children’s rights or refugees. Or perhaps a recent news story pulled at your heartstrings, calling you to think about the plight of people in places like Gaza or Ukraine.

Photo: WFP/WFP/Sayed Asif Mahmud

Oftentimes, charities that operate in places we’re personally connected to (like our hometown, our ancestral countries, or regions we’ve travelled to or worked in) can help us be intentional with our giving. Take the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) for example. We operate in over 120 countries and territories, so you’re bound to find a country or region you care about.

Here’s What to Look for in a Good Charity

A responsible, effective nonprofit is honest, transparent, efficient and has a proven track record of making a positive impact on the lives of the people they serve. Like us! Here are six rules to keep in mind as you do your research.

1. Give to a Reputable, Established Organization

The best organizations have had time to prove themselves and their effectiveness. They’re committed long-term to their goals and are working diligently to get help to the people who need it most. They’re well known amongst their peer charities and the industries in which they operate.

little boy eating food out of bowl next to mother
Photo: WFP/Andy Higgins

While it’s not totally necessary, winning awards does help signify charitable excellence. Kind of like when the U.N. World Food Program won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020.

2. Find Out What Exactly the Nonprofit Does

Some organizations might impress with a beautifully crafted mission statement and lofty goals, but a little digging reveals that their work is all smoke and mirrors. Make sure the charity you choose has specific, active programs and shows how they solve the problems they’re working to address. An impact page can be a good place to start.

3. Good Charities Prove Their Impact

Stats and data might not be the most exciting parts of charitable work, but they’re some of the most important. Impactful organizations have numbers – and stories – to back up their results, and they share them willingly and proudly. See if you can find evidence of their influence through firsthand testimonials or annual reports.

Photo: WFP Photolibrary

Children celebrate the arrival of a UN truck at an emergency shelter in Gaza. Make a difference in the lives of people and communities in crisis by donating to emergency relief efforts.

4. Check an Organization’s Spending Breakdown

Overhead is to be expected – you need people and resources to run programs. But as a donor, you want the bulk of your funds to go directly to helping the people and communities you care about. Most watchdog organizations, like the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, say nonprofits should spend at least 65 percent on their programs.

Photo: WFP/Sayed Asif Mahmud

If you’ve found an organization you like, see if you can find their spending breakdown. For example, we spend 93 percent of our funds on programs.

5. Look for Transparency

A great charity shows you exactly who they are. Look for board members – how many there are, their backgrounds and experiences, board diversity and any conflicts of interest. (Ours are here.) Nonprofit websites should also show you how many employees they have and who is on their staff. Their financial forms, like their IRS 990, financial and annual reports, should also be made publicly available on their website, just like we do.

girl in white and green shirt smiling in front of bags of food
Photo: WFP/Claire Neville

Keep in mind – World Food Program USA has a 4-star rating on Charity Navigator which puts us in the top two percent of all organizations they rate.

6. The Best Charities Are Rated Externally

Outside watchdog organizations are vital: They help provide objective accountability to an industry that requires it. Being highly rated isn’t necessarily crucial – especially for newer organizations – but it’s a sign that a nonprofit has proven itself trustworthy. There are plenty of watchdog organizations, but Charity Navigator is amongst the most trusted: Organizations are rated between 0-4 stars on efficiency and effectiveness.

World Food Program USA Is One of the Best Charities You Can Donate To

As you’re doing your research this giving season, think about World Food Program USA. We’re highly trusted, highly rated and have been fighting the ravages of hunger around the world since 1961.

little boy sitting on barrel next to his father
Photo: WFP/Sayed Asif Mahmud

It’s likely our programs touch an issue close to your heart. From hunger, poverty and disaster relief to the safety and health of women and children, we’re on the ground providing support to people in the hungriest places on earth.

We deliver food to people in over 120 countries and territories around the world, and our work is especially crucial in conflict zones like Gaza and Ukraine. So crucial in fact that the U.N. World Food Programme won the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize for its fight against hunger as a weapon of war.

Explore our website to see how our programs tackle every single facet of hunger imaginable and how our work impacts the lives of over 160 million people. Most importantly, we are efficient. For every dollar you give, more than 93 cents goes directly to feeding people and improving their lives.

If you want to dig a little deeper, meet our Board members and our staff. We’re completely transparent with our financials, including our taxes and annual reports. And keep in mind – we have a 4-star rating on Charity Navigator and a Platinum Transparency Seal from Candid Guidestar. Those are the highest rankings possible for each charity watchdog.

We’re so grateful for your support. Without you, we could not be the efficient, effective, impactful, global, hunger-fighting machine we are today.

Please consider donating to World Food Program USA before the end of the year.