Recommendations for donations, 2016 edition

It’s the giving season, and this year I’m trying to learn from previous years and give some advice before everyone else in the world finishes their yearly donations.  :)

To a large extent, the recommendations I made last year still hold.  And I still endorse most of my criteria from a few years back (but see other posts in my donations tag for further updates and caveats).  So mainly, I want to post those links as a resource for anyone giving now or soon.

The truth is, though, the recent US election has changed some of my own giving priorities.  I’m not going to stop giving to the research causes or the worldwide health efforts that I gave to previously, but I’m going to increase some of my domestic giving to causes that I think are now more at risk.  I’ll be posting more of my thoughts and decisions as I do more research into new organizations — and I’d love your input along the way.

I’ve previously supported civil liberties (primarily ACLU), reproductive rights, criminal justice reform, and investigative journalism (primarily ProPublica) [edit: also LGBT rights] — I plan to increase my donations to such causes, but will revisit and update the specific recommendations.  Additionally, I want to evaluate more organizations supporting racial justice, immigrant rights, human rights, and more, before making any decisions or endorsements.

So far my candidates for evaluation include:

Southern Poverty Law Center
Showing Up For Racial Justice
Campaign Zero
Council on American-Islamic Relations
Amnesty International (I’d at some point reviewed them as not having enough clear impact in the past, but plan to revisit)
Some of the immigrant organizations on this list – but I’m a bit daunted and not sure how to narrow it down
More of the pro-women, pro-immigrant, pro-LGBT, pro-disability rights, anti-racism, anti-bigotry recommendations from Jezebel — again, a bit overwhelming
…and more suggestions based on reader comments.

If you have other recommendations — in these categories or others — or questions you’d like answered, please let me know. (Edit: also check out other readers’ suggestions in the comments!  Thanks, readers — y’all rock.)  Thank you — and thank you to anyone who has the resources right now to donate.

This post has been edited for clarity in several spots, as well as content updates, which are specifically indicated.


  1. Val Winschel Said,

    November 28, 2016 @ 4:37 pm

    I attempted to write something earlier, but got cut off…hope this isn’t a duplicate. Anyway, I don’t know you, but my pseudo-cousin Tori Sweetser liked your facebook post and I like her, so there we have it. I’m a huge fan of the Trevor Project, because it’s a suicide hotline that helps all LGBT folks, in spite of the fact that very few LGBT organizations actually help the T in the acronym. Trans folk have something like a 42% suicide attempt rate–ATTEMPT rate, not just thought rate–and some of the people dearest to me in life are trans. If I could go back in time and help these wonderful people when they needed it most, I would…but I can’t…as such, I donate to the Trevor Project, and hope you might, as well.

  2. Doug Orleans Said,

    November 28, 2016 @ 7:36 pm

    What do you think of the SPLC’s categorization of Ayaan Hirsi Ali as an “anti-Muslim extremist”?

  3. NFN Said,

    November 28, 2016 @ 7:52 pm

    Disability rights are consistently left off these lists but we are seriously at risk right now. Intersectional oppression is something we all have to embrace, we are black, latina, Asian, we’re Muslim, Jewish, we’re immigrants, native Americans, old and young… our issues span from wheelchair accessibility to chronic debilitating illnesses who will be given the right to die before we’re given treatment that allows for a quality of life. Please help spread the word to others so we aren’t forgotten.

    right now the disability integration act is turning into the next “NIMBY” phenomenon and we need support
    if you can’t donate you can write your representative here:

    Some organizations
    DRA: provides legal support for people with disabilities:
    ADAPT: a grassroots org trying to fight for the rights of the disabled, visible and invisible disabilities:

    Some national advocacy groups.
    National Organization on Disabilities
    American Association for People with Disabilities
    Center for disability rights:

    Anyway, some links for you. Thanks for sharing yours. :)

  4. lauren Said,

    November 28, 2016 @ 8:00 pm

    Thanks to those of you who are sharing more links! :) I actually meant to include LGBT resources and disability resources in my “to evaluate” list explicitly (some of them are contained in those aggregated lists I linked to); thanks for the reminders and specific recs. Now I’m wondering what else I’ve forgotten — hopefully more readers will spot things! (For those new to the blog — welcome! — I tend to recommend most highly the organizations that are not just devoted to causes I care about, but also are particularly effective at achieving their goals, ideally with good metrics in place, so that’s what I mean when I say I’ll evaluate them.)

  5. lauren Said,

    November 28, 2016 @ 8:01 pm

    Doug — I don’t have an opinion yet, because I haven’t looked into SPLC or the things they’ve said. Right now, I’m just gathering links to places that people have recommended I look into. Thanks for the tip about something to investigate further, though.

  6. NFN Said,

    November 28, 2016 @ 10:43 pm

    Thanks for being so receptive, and let me say I really appreciate that you vet your resources. It’s extremely important and a tough task. I find it hard to draw the line in some cases, particularly orgs so focused on their particular issue they ignore the crossover (or appear to).

    Keep up the good work :D

  7. Joe Decker Said,

    December 8, 2016 @ 12:52 pm

    Weird thought, not sure how to quantify.

    It may be reasonable to start thinking about paying for quality news sites as a donation toward society.

  8. lauren Said,

    December 10, 2016 @ 3:33 pm

    Yeah. I’d already been donating to ProPublica. But I’ve been wondering about how to try to measure efficacy and goodness of varioius news sources …