Emma needs input on selecting a charity to support this year:
Every year our family chooses a charity to donate to instead of giving each other more "stuff."
This year it is my turn to choose, and I am having a hard time finding a useful legitimate charity to donate to. I am interested in a group that is involved on local fronts as well as global, I want the money to go towards what they say it will and I would love for it to be less widely known (not Salvation Army or Toys for Tots — I would love to donate to a smaller charity).
Do you have any ideas or a good place to start looking?
I LOVE HEIFER INTERNATIONAL. It's an incredibly direct way to help people around the world: you can fund a hive of bees, a gift of a water buffalo, a trio of rabbits, or any number of other livestock. Heifer International then delivers your gifted livestock to a family who can use it to make money, feed themselves, and start to support themselves.
I also have a friend who works for ONE: they work with my teenage crush Bono to fight AIDS, inequality, and extreme poverty around the world. I've worked with relatively rinky-dink non-profits, but my experience with them makes me appreciate how ONE administrates — they focus on going to the root of problems, not treating symptoms.
Looking locally, you could band your family together to support a homeless shelter, soup kitchen, or even to sponsor a holiday meal at your closest Ronald McDonald House, a charity which supports families of severely ill children.
I know there are tons of great organizations out there, and we can give Emma and her family a smorgasbord to choose from. Pitch your cause in the comments.