Charity Choices

A Resource for Donors

About Charity Choices

Which charities are effective?  Which deserve your support? How do you decide?  This website helps you answer questions like these and gives you in-depth information about a broad range of charities, all of which have met the federal charity drive’s 10 accountability standards.

We tell you how much each spends on overhead and the rating it's received from three charity rating services (if it's been rated). But we also give you information about what each charity actually does and what it has accomplished.  And we tell you how to learn much more about any charity in the country.

You will also find information about charitable giving.  How much is given? To Whom? How much does the average person give?  Why?  You will find information about a broad range of charities on this website, all of which have answered six questions about their work, such as “Why should I support your charity’s work?”

Any charity that has met the federal charity drive’s accountability standards can be part of this website.  CFC charities that are part of our Charity Guides and Joint Charity Ads are part of this website at no cost.

Our mission is to give all kinds of charities – large and small, national and local – a chance to tell donors about their work. 

There are countless charities doing important work that most of us have never heard about.  Many of us would like to support these often smaller, less well-known charities – if we knew about their work.  They are often led by deeply motivated staff and volunteers.  They are often trying new approaches to old problems or working on new challenges. 

Our mission is also to give donors an easy-to-use source of information about charities and charitable giving.  What do charities actually do with your money?  How are they working to make a difference?  How does their work differ from that of other similar charities?

The story of Charitable Choices – Helping bring choice to on-the-job charity campaigns

This website is a service of Charitable Choices.  For 30 years we’ve been helping charities communicate their missions to people who can give through the federal charity drive, the Combined Federal Campaign. 

We grew out of the campaign to open up the “CFC” to a much broader range of charities in the early 1980s.  At that time, only about 30 very large, long established national and international charities could participate in the CFC.  This hurt many charities and limited the giving choices of federal and military employees. 

When the CFC was opened up in 1985, a small group of people involved in this campaign created the Fair Share Committee to help the newly admitted charities promote their work among CFC donors.  The Fair Share Committee became Charitable Choices. 

One of the founders of Charitable Choices, who continues as its director, is Tim Saasta.  In addition to working for the coalition that opened up the CFC in the 1980s, Saasta has worked for several nonprofit organizations and foundations that work on issues involving poverty and inequality in this country.  He has written and edited numerous publications about ways of combatting poverty, many of which are on the website.  He has written articles and columns about poverty, charity and philanthropy for many publications, including The Nation, The Washington Post, New York Times and National Civic Review.

Charitable Choices Guides to Charities

For many years Charitable Choices has published easy-to-use guides to charities that are part of the CFC.  Our guides give each charity the same opportunity to tell potential donors about its work. 

Federal employees and many other donors use and appreciate them. 

“Thank you so much for mailing your guide to us,” wrote the Bachmanns from Alexandria, VA.  “We used it for years when we were Federal Government employees….”

“Thank you for compiling this list of charities,” wrote Enjoli DeGrassse of Silver Spring, MD.  “I was able to quickly read your listing and contact the charity I wanted to donate to.  It saved me time and effort and I know my donation is going to a cause I support.”  

We distribute our guides in a wide variety of ways, including handing them out near federal buildings.  More about our guides

We have worked hard over the years to keep the cost of being in our guides very low so that a wide range of charities could participate, not just large charities with big advertising budgets.  We’ve always offered small charities a special rate, a rate we’ve never raised in nearly 20 years of producing this guide. 

We receive no part of the donations that are given to charities, either through the CFC or through this website.  When you are on a charity's page and click on "Give Online Now," you go to that charity's online giving page.  You will be giving directly to that charity. 

The Charity Choices website

We began the Charity in the 1990s as a way for charities in our guides to say more about what they do and for donors to learn more about charities they can support through the CFC or by making a direct donation. 

“Your website is wonderful. It’s great to have so much valuable information in one place,” wrote Brenda Walker of Los Angeles. 

“What I like about your website is that I can learn what these charities really do with my money,” explained Julia Collins of Boyds, MD.

Our website has been a free service for charities in our guides.  It is now open to any charity that has met the CFC’s accountability standards.  How to become part of this website 

We would love to hear from you about whether our website is helpful and what changes would make it even more useful for you: [email protected] or 240-683-7100.

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