Help Me Figure Out Which Charities to Give to Instead of Buying Cashmere Socks

I suck at finding good charities, and I want to give to worthy causes instead of Anthropologie this year. Let's pick some together?
Publish date:
December 6, 2011
Christmas, gift giving, chartities, nonprofits

I'm from a very dramatic family, so every year I have like six relatives who are like, "Doooooooon't get me anything for Christmas !" While they do this, they are of course wearing sparkly turbans and throwing themselves onto velvet fainting couches for emphasis. They "have too much stuff," they "don't want me to spend [my] money," they're just "too damn beatific and self-sacrificing," et cetera.Well, guess what, you wieners? I'm not getting you anything this year! But I am going to give some money to other people on your behalf. This is really a year to give more to charitable organizations, as they tend to take a hit when the economy is in the tank and really rely on the boost from holiday gifts.I give to the HRC because I get drunk at Pride, and I give to Planned Parenthood because I get drunk the other 11 months out of the year. (SORRY! NOT FUNNY! NOT A FUNNY JOKE!) But! I want to give where it's needed most and I can't exactly donate to NARAL on behalf of my sainted grandmother. I tend to give to the larger organizations because they're so incredibly visible and can afford to be so, but I've also found that some of the best ways to find worthy causes is to ask other people. And there are so, so many. I've picked some categories below… If you guys can do me a solid and tell me who we should all be giving to this Festive Holiday Season, me and those one-eyed super sad dogs would be really appreciative.ANIMALSFun fact: My best friend in college lost her virginity to that Sarah MacLachlan song, so I'm immune to that commercial (I just think about some teenage boy trying to do some serious, erotic lovemaking). OK! On to business: I hear lots of rumblings about big .orgs like The Humane Society and the ASPCA paying half-million dollar salaries to their executives, which you know, come on. Apparently the best thing to do is give directly to a local shelter, but if you all know of some good causes, I'm all about them. THE GAYSThe HRC is great when they aren't calling me every 13 minutes DO YOU HEAR ME HRC? Obviously I wept through that older gay couple "It Gets Better" video so I feel like maybe I should toss them some coin on behalf of my homophobic cousin. Who do you guys like?CIVIL LIBERTIESI'm really concerned with Net neutrality, obviously, because I want to keep the Internet a wild west of pornographic Disney cartoon drawings, leaked federal documents and women writing about their sex lives, so I might donate to Save the Internet on behalf of all my chan-dork friends. Any other worthy organizations out there dedicated to preserving Ye Bill of Rights?THE KIDSI refuse to give to the Smile Train because enough with your shocker ads, Smile Train. Congrats, you're now the PETA of cleft palates. Kids are no doubt being hit hard by this recession, so school lunch programs and after school orgs (like the one I saw in a CNN Heroes segment that made me bleed water from my eye-holes) probably need your scrilla. But I'm also interested in stuff for at-risk teenagers, who need your help even though they are teenagers and thus, monster people.REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTSLike I said, I'm a Planned Parenthood girl, myself, but I'm interested to know who you guys like.WOMENBill Clinton loves KIVA so I do too, naturally, because I just want to lie on a bearskin rug with him. Who else?

VETSThis is such an incredibly worthy cause and one I'm embarrassed to know so little about contributing to. Wounded Warrior Project? Or that one that gives puppies to soldiers with PTSD? Help, help, help!HUNGERI hear great things about the work of the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation domestically, and of course, I like Heifer International because the idea of telling my mom, "I bought you a goat but I gave it away to SOMEONE WHO WOULD APPRECIATE IT" never gets old. Plus, doesn't "Heifer International" sound like something a Diablo Cody character would call a fat exchange student?EVERYTHING ELSE!Have I forgotten anybody else worthy? I'm the worst! I know! Let me know where our cash is best funneled. Ho, ho, ho.