A Practical Guide To The Best Medical Research Charities

If you’re looking for a medical research charity to support, you probably want to know with confidence that your donation is going to make an impact and help people.

Picking a research charity can be tough, but once you know what to look for, figuring out who to support gets a lot easier. This guide will help you pinpoint exactly what to ask when looking for a charity, and gives you a sample of different medical research organizations to start your search off right.

What To Look For In A Research Charity

There are five traits that you’ll want to pin down before making the decision to donate to a medical research charity:

  1. Transparency: Do I know where my donation is going?
  2. Efficiency: How much of my donation makes it to researchers?
  3. Reputation: Do enough people know about this charity to ensure regular funding?
  4. Connections: Does the charity have institutional relationships and partnerships?
  5. Impact: Do the donations of the charity allow for research that wouldn’t otherwise happen?

Most of this information is found on each charity’s website, but be sure to check third party sources like Charity Navigator and do in-person interviews with charity representatives as well. The best charities will offer you an array of statistics, facts, upcoming events, and summaries of successful programs.

List Of The Best Research Charities

Here are some of the best medical research charities that we can suggest you visit. This list will give you a good idea of what to look for when choosing an organization to donate money to, and will provide you with a basis of comparison during the decision making process. Of course, there are many more wonderful options not included here, and hopefully this guide acts as the catalyst for further research.

Best Cancer Research Charity

The Cancer Research Institute easily wins the award for the best cancer research charity. CRI net over $25 million in funding during 2016, and uses 87% of those funds to support immunotherapy research.

CRI is a great charity because—aside from supporting many scientists with funds—they also run a clinical accelerator program which gets the best ideas from the laboratory into the clinic as fast as possible. In total, CRI has funded over 120 clinical trials and invested over $344 million over the course of its existence.

Best Cardiovascular Disease Research Charity

The Cardiovascular Research Foundation wins the best cardiovascular disease award because of its thirty year history of making fundamental contributions to critical research. The CRF has played a role in a few major advancements in cardiovascular medicine, including:

With proven impact over time, the CRF is an excellent research charity to consider donating to.

Best Neurology and Mental Health Research Charity

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is an excellent medical research charity that also happens to be one of the largest in the USNMSS is the best because of its expensive corporate and public sponsorship programs and cornucopia of grant programs which fund research.

NMSS pulled in over $110 million in funding during 2015, of which it spent nearly $100 million on programs. NMSS disburses its funds to train future scientists, too—a great addition to a portfolio of research grants.

Best Infectious Disease Research Charity

The Bill and Melinda Gates’ Foundation Global Health Division is a remarkable research charity that rates extremely highly for its transparency, funding critical research, and powerful connections. The Foundation funds infectious disease research in many diverse areas:

  • HIV
  • Malaria
  • Tropical Diseases
  • Pneumonia
  • Tuberculosis
  • Polio
  • Vaccine Delivery
  • Sanitation and Hygiene
  • Enteric and Diarrheal Diseases

Best of all, the Foundation is driven by programs that it knows will get results, making it fast, efficient, and fiscally responsible.

Best Genetic Disorder Research Charity

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is our pick for best genetic disorder research charity. The CFF is fully transparent and known for its stellar fundraising events which pulled in over $90 million dollars in 2015.

The CFF has a wide variety of grants and awards for individual scientists at all career levels and also boasts an excellent volunteering program which allows for members of the public to participate in the research process.

Best Gastrointestinal Disorder Research Charity

The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation is a great charity because of its emphasis on building hope and getting communities involved in the fight against gastrointestinal disease. The C&CF is currently funding research in a few promising areas, including:

  • Gut Microbiome
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease Genetics
  • Pediatric Crohn’s Risk
  • Pregnancy in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patients

The C&CF has a few big successes in its pocket, too: their funding helped to discover the first gene for Crohn’s disease. With the right support, they will go on to make other life-changing discoveries.

Best Eye and Vision Research Charity

Glaucoma Research Foundation has extremely high ratings in third-party charity reviews for its stellar transparency and the consistently successful research ventures it funds. Glaucoma Research Foundation is funding projects examining:

  • Regeneration of Retinal Ganglion Cell Dendrites to Restore Vision
  • The Role of Microglia in Glaucoma
  • Methods to Improve Eyedrop Administration and Adherence
  • Inflammation in Glaucoma
  • Lowering Intraocular Pressure Via Drainage

These programs are quite promising, and there’s reason to believe that they’ll succeed thanks to donations from the public and hard work from the researchers. 84% of all funding that comes into the Glaucoma Research Foundation is spent on programs, which means that for every dollar you donate, you know that you’re directly helping researchers improve the lives of patients.

Which One Should I Donate To?

As we said before, this is only a sampling of the best medical research charities out there. The best way to decide which organizations to donate to is through passion and research. Where would you like to make a difference? Ask yourself this question, and then ask whether the charity of your choice is going to help you do that.

If you are interested in learning more about the ways you can donate to glaucoma research in a meaningful way, consider giving to Glaucoma Research Foundation and help support the ongoing battle against glaucoma.


First posted on June 29, 2017.