Charities are instrumental in helping society tackle issues such as environmental preservation, curing diseases and fighting hunger. To be successful, they need constant donations in terms of money, foodstuffs or volunteer time. More than 5,500 charities operate in the United States, but only some efficiently manage their donations, as per the Charity Navigator, an independent charity evaluator.
Children's charities focus on child-related issues. The Children’s Aid Society (CAS), based in New York, is a children's charitable organization serving more than 150,000 children annually. According to CAS, 91 cents of every dollar donated is spent directly in serving the children. The organization Horizons for Homeless Children provides educational and recreational facilities to more than 2,200 children weekly in Massachusetts and shelters 175 homeless children through its three Community Children's Centers in the same locale. Other children's charities demonstrating efficient use of donations include Our Lady's Inn in Saint Louis and Edgewood Boys Ranch in Orlando, Florida.
Humanitarian charities use their donations to provide direct services to people in need. Direct Relief International in California uses donations to provide medical assistance to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty and disasters in the United States and throughout the world. According to Charity Navigator, Direct Relief has provided more than $1.4 billion worth of medicines, supplies and equipment across the world since 2000. The Food Bank of Lincoln in southeast Nebraska collects food from farmers, corporations, restaurants, churches and individuals and then distributes it to hungry people across the United States. As of 2008, the Food Bank distributed over 4.2 million pounds of food, according to Charity Navigator.
Charities that address health-related problems such as HIV/AIDS attract a lot of donations from philanthropers. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, located in the Longwood Medical Area in Boston, Massachusetts uses its annual revenues of about $800 million to serve more than 299,000 patients who visit its center annually. Other charities include The Paediatric Cancer Research Foundation, which focuses on improving the quality of life of children with cancer; over 80 percent of its donations go directly to research. The Breast Cancer Research Foundation in New York is a charity that directs 85 cents of every dollar donated to research and awareness programs.
Animal charities protect, provide healthcare and look after the welfare of domestic and wild animals. The Citizens for Animal Protection in Houston uses 86.2 percent of its donations for sheltering, rescuing and finding homes for homeless animals. It also provides education on wildlife conservation to the public to prevent cruelty to animals. Other animal charities that use donations efficiently include the Humane Society of Southern Arizona and the Kansas Humane Society.
Most Christian charities focus on advocating for integrity as well as helping humanity. Compassion International (CI) is a Christian charity that uses its donations to enable more than 1 million children across 25 countries to grow into responsible adults. According to CI, at least 80 percent of its annual expenditures are used for child development programs. To ensure efficient use of the donations, CI conducts periodic internal audits as well as annual external audits in accordance with auditing standards accepted in the United States. Other charities known to efficiently use donations include Vision International and the Christian Relief Fund.