Churchgoers and other charitable givers eager to aid tsunami victims in South Asia have often sent money to well-known agencies or those linked to their religious affiliation.
When charities seek follow-up gifts, and ask that donors not forget needy regions no longer in the headlines, the American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) may provide guidance. On its Web site, www.charitywatch.org, the institute rates charitable groups, giving high grades for using 75 percent or more of donations on programs while generally spending $25 or less to raise $100.
AIP also updates its ratings quarterly, and not necessarily with forewarning.
Lutheran World Relief, the Baltimore-based charity supported by the largest two U.S. Lutheran denominations, noted in a January 13 press release that LWR and the American Red Cross were the only two international organizations holding an A+ grade from AIP.