Get the Most Bang for your Charity Buck

http://www.motherearthnews.com/nature-and-environment/get-the-most-bang-for-your-charity-buck.aspx

So you've decided to contribute to the greater good of the planet by donating to a worthy environmental organization. Great! Pat yourself on the back — the world needs more people like you.

But there are so many to choose from. How on earth do you narrow them all down to one? How do you find the perfect philanthropy to suit your ideals? What's more, how do you determine if the organization you choose can be trusted with your hard-earned, well-meaning dollars?

A good place to start is the American Institute of Philanthropy. They've compiled a list of top rated charities that have proven to be effective and responsible. (Don't just stick to the environment category — there are many earth-friendly organizations in other categories!)

Make sure your organization adheres to the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance Standards. Visit their Web site to read about their ethics standards.

If you're concerned about being hounded for the rest of your life by pushy fundraisers, seek out organizations that are members of the Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation. All members of this organization are required to recognize the Donor Bill of Rights.

Giving to a great charity is a fulfilling and admirable action that is sure to give back tenfold!