Patrick Dwyer, formerly of Merrill Lynch discusses five common charitable causes.

When considering donating to charity, there are a variety of factors you may want to review. While all charities generally have a common goal of doing good for others or the world at large, each organization has its own mission and set of priorities. Many people are driven to support causes that align with their own principles or those they connect with in some way. Here we explore five common charitable causes.

Many Americans identify as religious on some level. It is often a natural choice for people to seek out organizations that are aligned with their fundamental belief system when researching causes to support. There are many different types of religious charities, all serving different purposes. While some may focus on educational programming, others may aim to support those who facilitate within the specific religious community or leaders of the relevant faith.

Charities that are education-focused place an emphasis on the value of high-quality learning opportunities. Their founders and supporters tend to believe this is an investment in the future. Differences between charities may include the level, ages, or population they aim to help (for example, elementary, secondary, or special ed), while some have more general goals, like educational reform.


Contributions to charities that concern animal welfare have piqued the interest of the public in recent years. Many people feel a special connection to their furry friends or to animals in general. There are organizations that support shelters, provide food to strays, and rescue abused animals. Others have a more global focus, such as the research and care of endangered species.


Human Services
The category of human services is a broad one. The sorts of charities within this class include those focused on providing basic services to people. Shelters for the homeless and soup kitchens are supported through donations of these types, and others within this group may support the disabled, foster children, or single-parent families.


Arts & Humanities
\Institutions and services supported through charities in the arts & humanities realm are thought to be essential to the well-being of people. This is a wide field, touching upon many types of industries and areas. Arts & humanities encompasses education, creativity, literacy, community, as well as issues relating to the environment and healthcare. Some examples that fall into this charitable category include libraries and national parks.

There are so many charities in the world today and ways to help others. Starting to think about your own areas of interest and the types of charities that most interest you can help to make the process that much easier. The bottom line, of course, is to help others and no matter where you end up giving, you’ll be achieving