Question:

I am wanting to donate money to help the Haiti situation out, but I also realize that certain organizations are associated with religions whose teachings are not of God. I wanted to give to organizations or charities who will most effectively use the money. Of course, the older, more established charities are better, but I want to make sure they are the right charities. Do you know of any that are not religiously associated? Is Red Cross affiliated with a religion?

Answer:

The Red Cross is not associated with any religion. The name and their symbol was derived from the Swiss flag as the association was founded in Geneva, Switzerland. [See: International Emblems]. Like many secular organizations, it has been involved on the edges in questionable programs, such as promoting "safe sex" by distributing condoms and having ties with organizations involved in abortion. So far these have been minor involvements from which it withdrew when the public raised a fuss about them. Make sure your donations are marked as being for the purpose you wish it to go to. While it isn't a guarantee that the organization will honor your request, it is more likely to follow your wishes.

A good place to begin is Charity Navigator. This group lists legitimate organizations and gives detailed instructions as to what you should and should not do to make sure your help reaches those in need. It also evaluates each organization in regards to its efficiency and expenses.

Some which seem to be not affiliated with a denomination, not involved in any objectionable practices, and involved with disaster relief:

AmeriCares

International Relief Teams

Operation Blessing International

Operation USA