The Best Charities for Your Money in Every State

Trying to find the best charities to donate to? Business.org compared and compiled a list of charitable organizations for every state.
best charities by state map

As a team of small-business advocates, we recognize your business supports and impacts local communities. We know you want your donations to go to causes you believe in that use your money to its full potential.

Not sure which organization to support?

Our advice for choosing the right charity: pick a cause you want to support, look for local organizations, and learn how each organization spends its donations. Whether it’s you or your business, you want your money to go to the right places, and not all charitable organizations treat your hard-earned money the same.

No matter the size of the charity or how much it receives in donations, it pays for marketing, salaries, and other administrative costs. A charity might support a great cause but do a lousy job of keeping their administrative expenses low. Some end up being outright scams.

Our methodology

To ensure we found the organizations that use their money wisely, we analyzed data collected by Charity Navigator on organizations in every state. We compared financial information, transparency policies, and public reviews. We also looked at financial, accountability, transparency scores, and administrative-to-program cost ratios. We then assigned our top ratings to the best charities that do the most with their donations across the nation.

Interesting findings

  • The top organizations averaged a rate of 94.9% for contributions that go directly back into the programs.  
  • The types of causes championed by the most effective charities vary widely, but we found many animal rights, food distribution, social service, and environmental protection organizations.
  • Among the charities we examined, the lowest percentage of contributions being used for the program  was 63.3%. That means a solid portion of donations were going to business expenses. 
  • The least efficient charities—those that spend significant portions on fundraising and administrative costs—were also the least transparent and often had warning notices from watch groups like Charity Navigator.
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What is the difference between a private foundation and a public charity?
A private foundation relies on either an individual or a business. A private source of investment generates future income and distributes it according to that source’s priorities. A public charity relies on community funding. Charities request donations periodically to generate steady and reliable revenue.

The best charity to donate to in each state

Location
Charitable organization
Category
Transparency score
Program expense score
Business.org score

Alabama

Health

100.00

94.0%

92.17

Alaska

Food distribution

96.0

94.7%

78.85

Arizona

Recycling services

100.00

96.4%

95.47

Arkansas

Animals

100.00

88.7%

84.89

California

Food distribution

100.00

99.7%

100.00

Colorado

Food distribution

100.00

98.1%

97.80

Connecticut

Food distribution

100.00

94.6%

92.99

DC

Environment

100.00

95.3%

93.96

Delaware

Community development

100.00

86.5%

81.87

Florida

Food distribution

100.00

98.2%

97.94

Georgia

Environment

100.00

96.2%

95.19

Hawaii

Food distribution

100.00

96.2%

95.19

Idaho

Food distribution

100.00

94.8%

93.27

Illinois

Food distribution

100.00

99.2%

99.31

Indiana

Community development

100.00

93.8%

91.90

Iowa

Food distribution

100.00

97.1%

96.43

Kansas

Food distribution

100.00

97.4%

96.84

Kentucky

Food distribution

100.00

94.9%

93.41

Louisiana

Food distribution

100.00

95.9%

94.78

Maine

Food distribution

96.00

96.0%

80.63

Maryland

Health / breast cancer

100.00

94.6%

92.99

Massachusetts

Natural disaster response

100.00

94.3%

92.58

Michigan

Food distribution

100.00

98.0%

97.66

Minnesota

Food distribution

100.00

96.0%

94.90

Mississippi

Human and civil rights

97.00

91.6%

78.16

Missouri

Military family support

100.00

98.3%

98.08

Montana

Food distribution

96.00

94.7%

78.85

Nebraska

Child services

100.00

89.1%

85.44

Nevada

Animals

100.00

90.7%

87.64

New Hampshire

Youth program

100.00

93.4%

91.35

New Jersey

Food distribution

100.00

98.2%

97.94

New Mexico

Arts, culture, humanities

100.00

93.3%

91.21

New York

Goods distribution

100.00

99.3%

99.45

North Carolina

Food distribution

100.00

97.5%

96.98

North Dakota

Community development

96.00

87.6%

69.09

Ohio

Food distribution

100.00

97.1%

96.43

Oklahoma

Food distribution

100.00

96.6%

95.74

Oregon

Food distribution

100.00

93.4%

91.35

Pennsylvania

Food distribution

100.00

96.8%

96.02

Rhode Island

Human services /

100.00

81.4%

74.86

South Carolina

Health

100.00

96.3%

95.33

South Dakota

Food distribution

100.00

95.7%

94.51

Tennessee

Community development

100.00

98.0%

97.66

Texas

Community development

100.00

96.3%

95.33

Utah

Food distribution

100.00

95.7%

94.51

Vermont

Food distribution

100.00

91.5%

88.74

Virginia

Environment

100.00

98.0%

97.66

Washington

Food distribution

100.00

96.9%

96.15

West Virginia

Food distribution

100.00

95.3%

93.96

Wisconsin

Food distribution

100.00

96.7%

95.88

Wyoming

Arts, culture, humanities

100.00

91.4%

88.60

Trevor Wheelwright
Written by
Trevor Wheelwright
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