Karen and I are trying to decide on some charitable organzations to which we can give, and I was doing a little research today. I found one one rather cool website called GiveWell.org: http://givewell.org/
GiveWell seems to be objective and on the level; I can’t say for sure that they do not have an agenda favoring the charities they recommend; everyone should read up on this stuff and decide for themselves. Nevertheless, GiveWell ranks these two organizations most highly:
1. Against Malaria Foundation: http://news.againstmalaria.com/page/About-the-Against-Malaria-Foundation.aspx
2. Schistosomiasis Control Initiative: http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/schisto
Please note: both of the orgs listed above are apparently based in the UK. That may or may not be a problem for you if you are inclined to act more locally than globally.
Another website that seems to be highly touted with respect to rating charitable organizations is Charity Navigator: http://www.charitynavigator.org/
Charity Navigator seems to cover a lot more ground than other similar websites, so that is an upside. One downside for me is that their website is a bit cumbersome and confusing to navigate (no pun intended), at least for me. Perhaps I will like it better after I study it more.
I hope you find this interesting. Happy giving!