Christian charitable organizations rank highest in terms of using donor money toward charitable projects and services, according to a recent Forbes study.
The Forbes study ranked the 200 largest U.S. charities based on three criteria: fundraising efficiency (the difference between income and expenditures), charitable commitment (amount of funds directly diverted to charity) and donor dependency.
Four out of the five charities that received a perfect rating in both fundraising efficiency and charitable commitment are Christian organizations. The average for fundraising efficiency for the whole list is 90 percent; 86 percent for charitable commitment.
The four leading Christian organizations on the list are Gleaning For The World, Kingsway Charities, Matthew 25: Ministries, and Operation Compassion. Each of these charities donates supplies from medicine and medical equipment to food and clothing to areas of need.
Tim Mettey, Matthew 25: Ministries vice president and disaster relief coordinator, told The Christian Post that he could not account for the dominance of faith-based charities but noted that his organization strives to meet a high standard.
"We have to be less than 2 percent on overhead. We thrive on being so efficient, and so we work with other organizations and let them do what they do well.” Mettey said.
The group’s mission statement is based on Matthew 25:34-40, which calls for the hungry to be fed, the homeless to be sheltered and medicine for the ill.
Mettey added that the group’s success is contingent upon support from the Christian community.
"We're not deporting other peoples efforts; we have 22,000 volunteers because of our message. Without volunteers none of this would be possible," Mettey said.
Faith-based charities are not held by any stricter legal standards than other charities, but many Christian charities are toward the top of Forbes’ efficiency ratings.
Most charities within the top 200 operate by taking donations and supplies. The supplies are called gift-in-kind (GIK) donations. In order to achieve a high efficiency rating, some organizations inflate the price of products, or use inflated pricing from manufacturers, to make it look like much of their funding goes directly to the donation of goods.
For instance, a deworming pill available in first-world markets around the globe for 2 cents a pill has been marked as high as $16 a pill at some organizations. The pill is an effective way to easily rid children and communities around the world of worms, but some organizations take advantage of manufacturing and third-party appraisers to boost their efficiency ratings, according Forbes.
Forbes snuffed out those businesses in this year's report, and Mettey claimed his organization performs independent audits to ensure fair prices and accurate data.
Faith-based organizations have the added benefit of turning to the Bible to remind themselves of motivation and direction.
"We need to help people no matter who they are. We focus on being the hands and feet of Christ; we show by our actions. We are proud of who we are," Mettey said.
Three of the top four Christian charities are operating at or above $100 million, which may show that the U.S. Christian community is philanthropically active and that, indeed, non-religious Americans feel comfortable donating to faith-based charities.
Donations and supplies go directly to communities in need around the world. The top organizations are still dealing with natural disasters, including 2004’s tsunami in the south Pacific and last year’s earthquake that devastated northern Japan.
Mettey urged people to look into the top faith-based charities as well as non-affiliated organizations.
"Even if you're not doing it through Matthew 25, go out and do something," Mettey said. "Words are words but actions speak a lot louder. Work together and show who you are."