Any charity worth its salt is outwardly an appealing prospect for donation, often leading to donors contributing without prior knowledge. Identifying exact distribution of funding is of the utmost significance for facilitating transparency and maintaining open communication among these organizations. Many philanthropic groups obscure the allocation of their funds, hindering trust and potentially damaging future relationships. With the Internet full of conflicting information on charities, it is the responsibility of donors to learn the truth for themselves. The following is a list of some of the most popular charities in present day and what they do with your donations.

American Red Cross

The Charity: Familiar and relied on by many, the American Red Cross is an organization dedicated to disaster relief efforts, blood donation, and support for members of the military, among other altruistic causes.

Their Reputation: Trustworthy, this well-renowned charity actually manages to spend an incredible 92.1% of contributions on programs that give back to communities around the world. From teaching CPR to managing the consequences of natural disaster, American Red Cross manages to efficiently allocate resources. With a history dating back to the 1800s, this organization is a long runner for good reason.

World Vision

The Charity: Billed as a “global Christian humanitarian organization,” World Vision dedicates itself to helping impoverished families around the world. Serving the poor and the oppressed, the organization places a particular emphasis on children, allowing interested individuals to sponsor a less fortunate child.

Their Reputation: About 85 cents of every dollar donated contributes to ending global poverty. This is a significant rate, a number bolstered by years of transparency and good faith. That said, the charity has room for improvement when it comes to spending money on fundraising ventures. Regardless, World Vision is still a highly regarded organization that provides support to communities in need.

Doctors Without Borders

The Charity: In an effort to bring modern medicine to impoverished areas around the world, Doctors Without Borders places medical professionals in some of poorest and most at-risk areas imaginable. Founded in France by a group of doctors seeking to make the world a better place, the organization provides professional care when other groups such as the Red Cross does not.

Their Reputation: Dedicating 86-89 cents on every dollar donated, this organization makes impressive use of its limited income. Given the passion of its volunteers and the promise of timely relief that Doctors Without Borders has delivered on, it may very well be worthy of your donation.

American Cancer Society

The Charity: Tremendously well-known, this charitable organization spends its funds educating and supporting research efforts in order to better the lives of cancer patients around America. The organization’s funding goes toward several initiatives, including research, prevention, and patient support.

Their Reputation: 59 cents of every dollar goes towards the American Cancer Society’s efforts. Despite having a relatively high overhead costs and lower administrative costs than many other charities, the ACS spends much of its money on awareness campaigns rather than contributing to patient treatment. Donations still have the potential to do good, but any potential benefactors should be aware of how their money is being spent.

Invisible Children

The Charity: Though it has existed since 2004, Invisible Children first gained national recognition with the film Kony 2012. The organization is remarkably adept at leveraging social media to gain global attention. This charitable group aims to end the exploitation of children, particularly in Uganda.

Their Reputation: Invisible Children has been riddled with controversy over the years. Often criticized for their use of appeals to emotion, the organization spends 80% of its funding on charitable efforts. However, any prospective donors should proceed with caution, considering that as much as 30% of this funding may go toward filmmaking and covering stories instead of efforts on the ground.

In addition, deceptive use of statistics and Joseph Kony’s departure from Uganda years ago undermines the message that Invisible Children is trying to send. Overall, IC is a cautionary tale about the dangers of sensationalism and the necessity for any savvy benefactor to conduct research before donating.