We all love to give when we can. Many of us increase our giving during the holidays. In fact, the holidays are the time of the year that most people give. However, not all you money donate makes it to those in need.

Let me stress that there more good charities than bad charities. Over the past 10 years the Tampa Bay Times conducted an extensive study and found out that many high profile charities were spending more money on solicitors than on giving money back to the cause.

The teams crunched the numbers of over 11,100 US charities.  They compared the funds raised through soliciting for donations, to the amount of that money which actually ends up handed over as cash aid to the recipients – and found a startling figure.

Of almost $1 billion raised over the decade, just $43.9m ended up as direct cash aid.  More than $900m funded soliciting for the donations.

As a general rule, watchdog groups say no more than 35 percent of donations should go to fundraising costs

Here are the rankings of the worst charities based on money used for soliciting costs

Rank  Charity name Total raised by solicitors Paid to solicitors % spent on direct cash aid
1 Kids Wish Network $137.9 million $115.9 million 2.5%
2 Cancer Fund of America $86.8 million $75.4 million 1.0%
3 Children's Wish Foundation International $92.7 million $61.2 million 10.6%
4 Firefighters Charitable Foundation $62.8 million $53.8 million 7.4%
5 International Union of Police Associations, AFL-CIO $66.6 million $50.4 million 0.5%
6 Breast Cancer Relief Foundation $63.9 million $44.8 million 2.2%
7 American Association of State Troopers $48.1 million $38.6 million 8.9%
8 National Veterans Service Fund $70.2 million $36.9 million 7.8%
9 Children's Cancer Fund of America $43.7 million $34.4 million 4.6%
10 Children's Cancer Recovery Foundation $38.5 million $28.9 million 0.7%

 

Among the very worst offenders, less than 1% of cash donated actually went to the cause or people for whom the charity purports to raise money.

Always take the time to research the charity of your choice so that you know your dollars are getting more band for your buck and that those on the receiving end reap the benefits and not those doing the soliciting.

Among the best charities to give to are St Jude Children's Research Hospital, United Way and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Check out the full list of the worst charities here