Charitable Activities You Can Do With Your Family
Charity organizations offer an opportunity for families to work together - helping to make our world a better place.
For family businesses, sponsoring local charity organizations is a wonderful way to
make an impact on the local community.
Lets face it, many children often grow up in a world where food, shelter, and education are a given. Getting them involved in charity work at an early age is a great way to make them grateful for what they have and show them how generosity can be contagious.
When families get involved with charity organizations, it provides an opportunity for parents to lead by doing - a great teaching opportunity for the kids.
A wonderful example of a local initiative is Kevin Ford and his wife Jodi who decided to make a difference in their community - they founded Kingdom Kids, a 100 % volunteer charity organization. Kingdom Kids is an Atlanta-based 501c3 organization whose mission is to grant wishes to children facing challenging circumstances. They partner with CHOA, Gwinnett Children’s Shelter, and CURE Childhood Cancer to provide local children and their families with an escape from their day to day focus on overcoming their challenge – be it cancer, other illnesses, homelessness, or other circumstances
Below is a list of 100 charity organizations - activities and sites for children, teens, adults, and families in general.
General Charity Organizations
Families who want to volunteer, contribute, take action, and more would do well to visit the sites below for the best ways to give, time, money, and hope.
1. VolunteerMatch: Currently with over 65,000 participating organizations, this site has many opportunities to choose from. Just type in your location and interests and VolunteerMatch will find many options for charitable families.
2. Volunteers of America: This faith-based organization is dedicated to helping those in need live healthy, safe, and productive lives. Get more information on the many services they provide, or find an opportunity in your area.
3. Idealist: Located in New York, this site currently has over 88,000 volunteers registered. Register yourself or kids in seconds, and find out more about opportunities in your area.
4. IAVE: The International Association for Volunteer Effort places its volunteers all over the world. It is ideal for those looking to help out overseas and has a great deal of related information.
5. Volunteering Solutions: This site has information on volunteering abroad in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Read testimonials, or learn how you and your family can apply.
6. Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration: This organization strives to make volunteers their best by having them certified. Learn what makes a volunteer truly stand out, along with information on certification.
7. Big Brothers and Big Sisters: With a ton of different programs and locations throughout the nation, families are sure to find charitable activities. And as always, adults are still encouraged to become a sibling to a child in need.
8. Salvation Army: A leading name in item donations, the Salvation Army also excepts airline miles, cars, furniture, and even gives a Valuation Guide for donations. You can also volunteer for one of their many programs.
9. Goodwill: Got clothes, toys, and other items lying around the house? Then find a chapter in your location to donate, as well as get a break on your taxes.
10. Christian Foundation for Children and Aging: The CFCA helps families in developing countries get food and send their children to school. Read the blog, sponsor a child or senior, or even learn more about one of their upcoming trips.
11. YMCA: With hundreds of locations across the country, your local YMCA has many charitable opportunities for families. You can also take a class, teach, volunteer, and more.
12. Food For The Poor: This is a leading international relief and development charity in the United States, feeding 2 million poor people everyday. Get information about mission trips, read the journal, listen to their radio station, and more.
13. Amnesty International: Through membership or donation, you can help further the quest for human rights across the world. Be sure to scroll down to check out what is being done to combat the latest injustices.
14. American Cancer Society: Whether you’re ready to sign up to volunteer from the start or need a little more information, the ACS makes it easy to have your questions answered. You can even watch a video message on the benefits of volunteering.
15. Give Blood: The American Red Cross has a massive database on giving blood. You can visit the website, call the hotline, or learn more about who can give blood.
16. Susan G. Komen for the Cure: Join the fight against breast cancer with this leading organization. Most known for their Race for the Cure, families can find a race by month, year, or location.
17. International Commission: If you’re interested in getting your church, as well as your family, to participate in a charitable activity, visit this site. Read more about the international partnerships being founded and learn how you can help.
18. Habitat for Humanity: A leader in charitable activities, Habitat has many opportunities for families who want to work with their hands. Simply type in your location and be linked to a branch in your area.
19. City of Hope: A top center in the fight against cancer, families can find loads of ways to contribute. Get information on volunteering, donating blood or marrow, and much more.
20. America’s Literacy Directory: Got adults or children who are interested in getting others to read? Then visit this site, type in your location, select your program, and get information on organizations that need your help.
21. OrganDonor: This branch of the government helps those who wish to become organ donors. You can register, get answers to frequently asked questions, and learn how to reduce the risk.
22. ISOH/Impact: This charity is dedicated to disaster relief, international development, and child sponsorship. Learn how you can help or visit the virtual library for more information.
23. The American Red Cross: A leader in charitable giving, you can volunteer to help with disasters in your area. There is even a special option for kids, teens, and seniors.
24. ActionAid: This organization works in 49 countries to help 25 million disadvantaged people and fight the causes of poverty. Visit the site to learn how to keep up the pressure, tell them which programs mean the most, and 18 to 24 year olds can even join the Global Youth Network.
25. AmeriCares: This charity delivers disaster emergency relief, aid, medicine and medical supplies to countries such as Darfur, Haiti, Zimbabwe, Cambodia, India, and Myanmar. Learn more about the people they help and how you can double a donation.
26. Doctors Without Borders: This charity provides medical help to those in need in over 60 countries. Learn more about what they do through videos, stories, virtual tour a refugee camp, and more.
27. Feeding America: The nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief charity, they supply food to more than 25 million Americans each year. Learn more about the magic summer lunch box, read the child food insecurity report, or get more information on programs in your area.
28. Department of Veterans Affairs: Find the location of a VA Hospital in your area. You can also learn more about volunteering opportunities, send a card, and more.
29. A Million Thanks: Get everyone in the family to send a letter to a soldier overseas and show your appreciation. There is also a radio station and suggestions for other ways to say thanks.
30. Equality Now: The Women’s Action Network branch of this organization has a massive list of things families can do to advance women’s rights across the world. Write letters against forced divorce, rape, injustice, and much more.
31. MADD: Mothers Against Drunk Driving have many volunteer opportunities and branches throughout the country. Get involved with legislative activities, working with the victims, youth programs, and more.
32. Covenant House: Families wishing to work with the homeless can find a shelter in their area from this massive advocacy organization. Often working with children, Covenant House opportunities include mentoring, volunteering, and there is even a NINELINE to help those in need.
33. Homeless Shelters and Soup Kitchens: Need to find a shelter or kitchen in your area? Then scroll down the page for a list of opportunities sorted by state.
34. Missionaries of Charity: Families looking to do something as simple as say a prayer for those in need should visit this site. You can even add someone who is in need of prayers.
35. Light-A-Candle: Say a prayer for those in need and click the candle to let them know someone is praying for them. You can also post your own story.
36. The Nature Conservancy: Since 1951, the conservancy has been using science and partnerships to protect Earth’s most important natural places. Learn more about the areas being helped by this charity, along with volunteering opportunities and the billion tree project.
Children’s Charity Organizations
These charities specialize in helping children and are among the best in the world.
37. One Hen: Microfinance for Kids: In the famous book, the loan for a hen changes the main character’s life. By visiting the site, you can do the same in addition to buying the book, playing a game, or learning more about the people you can help.
38. Kiva: This organization allows you and your child to loan money to those in third world countries. Choose an amount starting at just $25, and you can even be featured on their home page.
39. Heifer International: Choose from giving a direct financial gift, buying an animal for a family in need and more. You can also become part of Team Heifer, volunteer, or read the different fundraising ideas.
40. The Children’s Aid Society: This organization constantly ranks in the top of charities. Get more information on what they do, the children they help, and volunteer information.
41. Boys & Girls Clubs of America: This charity inspires and enables young people to do their best. With numerous clubs around the country, you and your family will find loads of charitable activities you can do together.
42. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital: This leading research hospital is dedicated to finding cures and saving children. In addition to charitable opportunities, you can read various patient’s stories.
43. Feed The Children: This charity is dedicated to providing food for children in the United States, around the world, and at their abandoned baby center. They also have options for those who want to sponsor a child, go on a mission, and you can even send an e-card.
44. Boy Scouts: A leader in charitable activities for children, you can sign up your boys, volunteer, or learn more about what they do. Make sure to visit the online learning center to get tips on what scouts learn.
45. Girl Scouts: Girls and grown women can find loads of charitable opportunities. Just sign them up, or become a leader yourself and learn how you can perform charitable activities as mother and daughter.
46. Rotary Foundation: Students and older children can participate through programs, scholarships, travel on cultural exchanges, or help a community through a service project. There are also programs for adults as well.
47. National Gallery of Art - Kids: Children will enjoy visiting this site to learn more about art, and even use the interactive option to make their own art online. There is also information on giving and visiting the gallery.
48. Feed My Starving Children: This organization can provide a meal to a child for only seventeen cents. Learn more about the countries and people they serve, volunteer, or visit one of the five packing centers across the country.
49. Muscular Dystrophy Association Helping Jerry’s Kids: A leader in the fight against MDA, there are many ways families can help. Become a volunteer, advocate, learn about the telethon, and more.
50. Children for Children: Located in New York, this organization is an excellent way for children to discover their potential to solve problems. Kids can get information on the basics of community service, ideas on how to volunteer, and learn more about book programs.
51. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy: A growing problem in our nation, learn how adults, parents, and teens can prevent it. You can also read President Obama’s message, get the truth about sexting, and read about the five percent solution.
52. Pajama Program: The program provides pajamas and sleepwear to needy children in the United States and around the world. Give pajamas, books, or find a location in your area.
53. Child Find of America: Get pictures of missing children in your area to keep an eye out for. There are also ways to give online and tips for prevention.
54. Marine Toys for Tots: The site has an easy to use feature that allows you to find the nearest site to drop off toys for needy children. You can also become a volunteer or learn how to turn your business into a drop off point.
55. Make A Wish Foundation: Visit this site to see how you and your family can make the wish of a terminally ill child come true. There are various ways to help or you can read the stories of children they are currently helping.
56. Ronald McDonald House Charities: A leading resource for helping children, they have houses all across the country and world. Make sure to visit the volunteer section to learn how you and your family can help.
57. March of Dimes: Advocating for the health of babies and mother’s, this organization has dozens of ways families can help. You can participate in several marches, volunteer, or even donate your old cell phone.
58. The Pencil Project: Got an extra pack of pencils lying around the house? Then send it here to add to the 300,000 pencils currently being used in the education of needy children abroad.
59. Operation Iraqi Children: This organization was started by actor Gary Sinise to help soldiers help the children of Iraq. Send school supply kits, toys, books, shoes, blankets, backpacks, and sports equipment to their warehouse and they will send them to the needy children of Iraq.
Institutional Charity Organizations
Read how these leaders are researching to fight disease, poverty, and more, along with what your family can do to help.
60. United Nations: Development: Learn about some of the most pressing charitable issues all over the globe. Topics include the advancement of women, countries in special situations, social development, and more.
61. Center for Social Development: The CSD conducts research that informs how individuals, families, and communities increase capacity, formulate and reach life goals, and contribute to the economy and society. Located in St. Louis, you can learn more about its research, programs, and read its publications.
62. The Center for Civil Society Studies: Located in John Hopkins University, the center seeks to improve the functioning of philanthropic organizations in the United States and throughout the world in order to enhance their contribution to democracy and the quality of human life. You can get economic data, a handbook, and read about their latest project.
63. Scripps Research Institute: This institute is ideal for families who want to know how science research can be used for charity. Their latest research involves the workings of a potentially useful virus.
64. Agape Foundation: Founded in 1969, this foundation raises and distributes funds to groups working for nonviolent social change. Read the latest news, blog, or get an annual report on their work.
65. A.J. Muste Memorial Institute: The late Mr. Muste believed that “there is no way to peace - peace is the way.” Learn more about what his memorial institute does to promote peace and its mission.
66. MedShare International: Many across the globe go without vital medicine, while in other parts of the world it is stockpiled. Learn how you and your family can help MedShare bridge the gap.
67. William J. Clinton Foundation: The Clinton Foundation is a leader in addressing global issues of health security, economic empowerment, leadership and citizenship, and racial, ethnic and religious tolerance. Learn more about the work they do including fighting AIDS, climate change, health, and more.
68. Foundation for the National Institutes of Health: The foundation provides interaction and an entrepreneurial approach to collaboration that is changing research and the pathway from ideas to reality. Get program highlights, the latest news, and a copy of their annual report.
69. The Iacocca Foundation: Dedicated to Mary Iacocca, who lost her battle with diabetes, this foundation is a leader in the search for a cure. Get the latest in research, news, and more.
70. Embrace Kids Foundation: This foundation specializes in children with cancer and blood disorders. Learn more about the work they are doing, along with how you can help.
71. Institute for Research on Poverty: This institute researches the causes and consequences of poverty and social inequality in the United States. Located in Wisconsin, you can get the latest news, research, and more.
Sponsorship Charity Organizations
Families can take great joy in adopting a child overseas, soldier, senior, or animal.
72. Children Incorporated: With 16,000 children already sponsored, you can begin for less than a dollar a day. View the gallery of children, choose by region, and provide them with food, education, and medical services.
73. Christian Childrens’ Fund: In addition to sponsoring a child, you can also learn how to write or visit them. There is also information on study tours, annual reports, accountability, and more.
74. World Vision: Choose a featured child, or search by gender, age, affliction, and location. Sponsorships are $35 a month and you can even watch videos on sponsorship.
75. Plan USA: Helping children since 1937, you can sponsor a child for $24 a month. You can also get information on volunteering, visiting a donor village, and more.
76. One Spirit: This charity offers a way for you to directly help a Native American Lakota child, family, or elder in need. There are also programs for Okini, My Buffalo Land’s Children, and more.
77. World Vision: This charity allows you to sponsor a child in need from many different areas. You can view the gallery, read the latest news, or hear the story of a child in need.
78. Children International: For as little as $22 a month you can sponsor a needy child from various countries. You can also read more about the children they help, along with success stories.
79. Compassion International: Make sure to view the website especially for kids when visiting this site. You can also read more about a child you wish to sponsor.
80. China Care: Improve the life of a Chinese orphan by donating a part or the entirety of a life saving surgery. Current surgeries include cleft palettes, hip surgery, and heart repair.
81. Wounded Warrior: A leader in helping our fighting men and women, you can actually sponsor a participant. There are other ways to get involved including volunteering, spreading the word, and more.
82. Adopt a US Soldier: To honor active US military personnel, this charity connects supportive Americans with deployed soldiers and offers a channel to communicate and express gratitude to the brave men and women serving our nation. Learn more about the soldiers involved, read a letter, or join the forum.
83. Adopt a Senior: Meals on Wheels gives families the opportunity to adopt a senior in need. You can also learn about other volunteering opportunities in this nationwide charitable organization.
84. Louisville Zoo: From lorikeets to elephants, all the animals at the Louisville Zoo are up for adoption. Starting at the $30 level, benefits for various levels include certification, a plush animal, zoo book, and more.
85. SPCA International: Find an animal shelter in your area for families and kids who want to adopt an abandoned animal. You can also get tips for pet care and even read the story of Charlie, a dog who was rescued from Iraq.
86. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: The ASPCA has opportunities across the nation for families who want to do charity work with animals. Learn more about membership, adoption, and loads of other pet related information.
87. World Wildlife Fund: With over 90 species to choose from, families can adopt an animal in need on the other side of the world. Top adoptions include polar bears, snow leopards, and pandas.
88. Conservation International: A leader in wildlife preservation, families have the option to adopt an acre of forest for $15. You can also learn how to stop species extinction and join Team Earth.
Miscellaneous Charity Organizations
Read the below guides for information on how to get the most out of your charitable giving, along with the best tips to avoid frauds and scams in nonprofits.
89. Charity Navigator: The first name in charity evaluation visit here for the best in charities, tips on giving, and much more. There is also an A-Z directory and the option to search by category.
90. All About Charity: This guide to charity gives tips on donating time, money, as well as the tax benefits. Be sure to check out the tips on how to make the most of your volunteering.
91. Jewish Communal Fund: Learn how to get the most out of your philanthropic dollars with this organization. It helps families achieve their philanthropic and tax saving goals with flexibility, full confidentiality and maximum choice, using donor-advised funds.
92. Charity Guide: This site will show families who want to participate in a charitable activity the basics. You can also give your location and interests to get matched with an appropriate outlet.
93. Charity Watchdog: Families looking to make donations can get information from the American Institute of Philanthropy. Get information on best graded charities, tips for wise giving, and more.
94. Guide to Good Giving: The Case Foundation offers this free guide to families interested in charitable donations. Learn how to give the best gifts, get staff picks, and even get ideas for outside the box giving.
95. Wise Giving Guide: Get a variety of guides on giving from the Better Business Bureau. There are also links to other useful information on charities, giving, and scams.
96. A Guide to Giving: Offered by PBS, get reports on giving, an introduction, or read the blog. Make sure to view the Trusting Your Charity video for determining which nonprofits are spending money wisely.
97. How to Avoid Charity Fraud: Unfortunately, some charities are not all their cracked up to be. Learn how to avoid scams, frauds, and even fake charities using the links on this article.
98. Holiday Charity Giving Guide: During the holidays, giving reaches an all time high. Learn the best ways to donate toys, clothes, and more with this useful guide.
99. 10 Charities Routinely in the Red: This list of charities have run deficits in each of their last three fiscal years, establishing a pattern of overspending from 39.3 percent to 52.9 percent. Families who are looking to make a donation, would be advised to look elsewhere.
100. 10 Charities Drowning in Administrative Costs: The price for administration can often cripple a charity’s ability to help those in need. Learn which ones to avoid by reading this list, along with many other related resources.
Charitable activities are a wonderful way to bring together parents, kids, and teenagers. By utilizing the sites and guides above, you can ensure an experience that everyone will enjoy and remember.
Our thanks to L. Fabry and Suzane Smith for compiling this list and presenting it to us for publication.
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