9 Best Charities That Promote Democracy Globally (Complete 2022 List)

9 Best Charities That Promote Democracy Globally (Complete 2022 List)

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Dennis Kamprad

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Simply put, Democracy is “rule by the people.” It’s a form of government in which the people have the power to decide what the law is or to elect those who will do so. Democracy protects fundamental rights and freedoms that should be enjoyed by every citizen of the world. However, many nations that run a democracy still stifle free speech and other rights. Fortunately, many charitable organizations have stood up to promote democracy globally. So we had to ask: What are the best charities that promote democracy globally?

The best charities that promote democracy globally are The Carter Center, Protect Democracy, and World Learning. Charities, such as the Eurasia Foundation and freedom House engage citizens and encourage democratic reforms to strengthen democratic societies.

Whether you want to promote democracy in your community, hold governments accountable, or mobilize youth for active civic participation, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities that promote democracy globally are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution. 

Related: Did you know that you can make Amazon donate 0.5% of your purchases to a charitable organization of your choice. Sign up at smile.amazon.com, select the charity you want your donations to go to, and make Amazon donate a part of your purchases to your chosen charity at no extra cost to you.

Here’s What All the Best Charities That Promote Democracy Globally Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact, achievements, and transparency ratings. They operate all over the world, promoting and protecting democracy and ensuring transparency in governance. 

Some of the charities work to prevent the fall of democracy and give disadvantaged people a voice in society. They follow key themes such as inclusivity, accountability, and transparency. Other charities offer training programs to youth and authorities to empower democratic practices. Yet they all share the same goal; to promote democracy and ensure every person has access to the resources and support they need. 

These Are the 9 Best Charities That Promote Democracy Globally

Below are our favorite charities that promote democracy globally:

  • The Carter Center
  • Protect Democracy
  • World Learning
  • Eurasia Foundation
  • Freedom House
  • Unlock Democracy
  • Defending Rights and Dissent
  • Involve Foundation
  • Patchwork Foundation

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

The Carter Center: Observing Elections

The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former US President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter to promote democracy. Today, the charity works globally to support democratic elections and strengthen participatory democracy, consistent with human rights.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives the Carter Center a 4-star rating with a perfect score of 100% for Accountability and Transparency. They also hold a Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“To advance human rights and alleviate human suffering.”

The Carter Center

What they do: The Carter Center conducts election observation by dispatching teams of observers to assess the legitimacy of elections in various nations around the world through their Democracy program. Beyond that, the charity promotes the development of democratic institutions to ensure that the rule of law and human rights are respected, that government decisions are open and transparent, and that everyone has access to the resources to compete fairly for public office.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Carter Center has monitored over 113 elections in 39 countries. They have also created innovative solutions to aid election observance, such as an online database of international laws and election monitoring software

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Carter Center through their website. You can also give gifts such as stocks, real estate, donor advised funds, and IRA charity rollovers

Protect Democracy: Preventing the Fall of Democracy

Protect Democracy was founded in 2016 by Ian Bassin, Justin Florence, and Emily Loeb to fight efforts, at home and abroad, that undermine the right to free, fair, and fully informed self-government in America. Today, the charity identifies key threats to democracy such as disinformation and corrupt elections, and works to combat them.

Screenshot of the Protect Democracy front page

Their impact and transparency ratings: Protect Democracy holds a Bronze Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“To prevent American democracy from declining into a more authoritarian form of government.”

Protect Democracy

What they do: Protect Democracy runs a number of programmes, such as the Protecting Elections, Voting and Representation programme, to fight for free and fair elections. Through their Ensuring Accountability programme, they work to ensure the government is accountable to the governed by performing transparent investigations and impartial trials. They also work to restore checks and balances in a democracy and to prevent the abuse of power. Furthermore, they fight disinformation by producing publications and resources to equip policymakers, legal practitioners and journalists. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Protect Democracy has filed more than 100 legal actions against anti-democratic policies. These have led to increased voting rights protection in federal case law and stronger doctrines against presidential abuse of power. They have also worked with Congress to draft numerous pieces of legislation, and assembled a 50-member National Task Force on Election Crises. Furthermore, they have generated thousands of stories and articles in the press to educate the public on the threats facing America’s democracy, as well as potential solutions. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Protect Democracy Project through their website. You can also stay up to date with their projects and achievements by following them on Twitter or Facebook

World Learning: Education, Development, and Exchange

World Learning was founded in 1932 by Donald B. Watt to address critical global issues by creating emerging leaders using education, international development, and exchange programs. Today, the charity works to promote civic engagement and strengthen institutions that form the backbone of a democratic society.

Their impact and transparency ratings: 

Charity Navigator gives World Learning a perfect score of 100% for Finance and Accountability. They also hold a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“Creating a more sustainable, peaceful, and just world through education, development, and exchange.”

World Learning

What they do: World Learning works to promote democracy through six impactful programs. For example, their People-to-People exchange program promotes cultural exchange and tolerance. They train teachers, administrators, governments, and communities to make lasting changes to the educational system. Also, their Institutional Strengthening program helps local institutions accomplish their missions and serve their constituents. Additionally, the Youth Workforce and Entrepreneurship program teaches youth and adults career skills. Their Civic Engagement program equips youth, civil society organizations, and local authorities to advocate for change and mobilize communities. Furthermore, World Learning’s TESOL program helps teachers learn English so they can better teach students. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, World Learning has made great strides to achieve democracy around the world. For example, they have built a strong network of universities and academic institutions, including their own SIT Graduate Institute. In 2021, they worked with 556 institutions, strengthening them operationally and technically. In the same year, 3,822 people from over 164 countries took part in their exchange program and 7,869 teachers in 83 countries were trained. Since 2016, they have served over 222,538 participants and students, trained 30,832 teachers, and strengthened 3,507 institutions. The World Learning’s School for International Training has also educated English language teachers in more than 20 countries.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to World Learning through their website. You can also shop at their online store and buy gift cards.

Eurasia Foundation: Engaging Citizens & Empowering Communities

The Eurasia Foundation was founded in 1992 as part of the United States government’s efforts to support newly independent states, following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Today, the charity designs and implements programs focused on civil society and democratic governance in Eurasia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

Their impact and transparency ratings: 

Charity Navigator gives the Eurasia Foundation a perfect score of 100% for Finance and Accountability. 

“A world where all people have the opportunity to realize their potential and transform their societies.”

Eurasia Foundation

What they do: The Eurasia Foundation has a number of areas of expertise that seek to build and support a thriving democracy. For example, with their Civil Society focus, the charity supports citizens’ participation in local and national decision-making processes that shape their futures on their own terms. Their Governance focus area looks to advance government transparency and accountability in order to improve service delivery, combat corruption, and foster citizen trust. Furthermore, their Gender and Marginalized Groups section focuses on breaking down barriers to women’s civic participation and advocating for the rights of the vulnerable and disenfranchised.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Eurasia Foundation has produced several success stories showing their impact on communities. For example, through their Social Innovation in Central Asia program, a public spending watchdog campaign was started in Kazakhstan by a civil alliance group to curb corruption in pandemic spending. Through this project, a series of investigations into suspicious public procurements were opened. Also, following the success of a young female journalist in Kyrgyzstan, the Eurasia Foundation has trained several young journalists in a move to promote independent media that is crucial to a democracy. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Eurasia Foundation through their website. You can also become a partner to help them implement their programs and initiatives.

Freedom House: Freedom is for Everyone

The Freedom House was founded in 1941 by Wendell Willkie and Eleanor Roosevelt to conduct research and advocate for democracy, political freedom, and human rights. Today, the charity speaks up against the biggest threats to democracy and gives people the tools they need to exercise their basic rights.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Freedom House has a score of 85 from Charity Navigator. The charity has also earned a Bronze Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

Freedom House is founded on the core conviction that freedom flourishes in democratic nations where governments are accountable to their people.”

Freedom House

What they do: Freedom House works to protect human rights and encourage democratic reform, with a focus on political rights and civil liberties. They do this by using analysis, advocacy, and action to deal with all of the 13 global issues they identified. For example, in the Philippines, they work with local civic society organizations to empower vulnerable communities to pursue justice and stand up for their rights. Furthermore, they identify the impact of technology on democracy, the challenges a pandemic poses to a democracy, and an understanding of authoritarian governments. The charity also provides data on the state of democracy in the world, giving each country a rating out of 100. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Freedom House has supported the advancement of democracy and the protection of freedom all over the world. For example,they were integral to the passing of the Global Magnitsky Act, which ensures officials are sanctioned if they attack anti-corruption protestors and lawyers. Furthermore, their Freedom in the World report has analyzed government function, electoral processes, and the level of freedom of expression in 195 countries and 15 territories around the world. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Freedom House through their website. They provide several options for donations, such as by check, wire transfer, and stock options. You can also keep up to date with their latest achievements by signing up to receive their newsletters

Unlock Democracy: Democratic Reform

Unlock Democratic was founded in 2007 by Peter Facey to campaign for democratic reform and more participatory democracy in the United Kingdom. Today, the charity advocates to increase the transparency and accountability of government, devolution, and human rights in general.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Who Funds Who? gave Unlock Democracy an A grade for funding transparency.

“Let’s build a vibrant, inclusive democracy.”

Unlock Democracy

What they do: Unlock Democracy lobbies politicians and political parties to defend the rights of communities to democratic freedom. For example, their Powering UP project aims to persuade politicians to adopt a package of vital democratic reforms in their manifestos to ensure issues facing communities are addressed. Furthermore, they run projects to increase local and national public participation in politics, such as a fairer and more inclusive electoral system. Some of their previous campaigns include a petition against the Elections Bill and a demonstration on the climate crisis in view of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26).

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Unlock Democracy has led and supported campaigns that have resulted in actual changes and defended democratic rights. For example, in April 2021, ahead of the May 2021 local elections in the UK, Unlock Democracy launched its “Turning the Tide” campaign and published a report exposing the weakening democratic structure of local governments. Prior to the same elections, the charity participated in a campaign to prevent the loss of democratic rights due to a prohibition on political leafleting during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Unlock Democracy through their website. You can also join the Unlock Democracy community by becoming a paid member. Furthermore, you can sign up for their mailing list as a supporter to receive current appeals and help them achieve their vision.

Defending Rights and Dissent: Promoting the Bill of Rights

Defending Rights and Dissent was founded in 1960 by Frank Wilkinson, to defend civil independence, expose the government press, and protect the right of political dissent. Today, the charity is active in defending the right to protest and working against criminal proceedings against national security whistleblowers.

Their impact and transparency ratings: 

Charity Navigator gives Defending Rights and Dissent a score of 100% for Finance and Accountability.

“Defending Right & Dissent strengthens our participatory democracy by protecting the right of political expression”

Defending Rights and Dissent

What they do: The Defending Right Dissent strives to check and balance government activities and prevent them from using force agencies as an instrument to suppress dissent. They build connections among individuals who have the same agenda of exposing harmful government secrets. They also work with local groups in the fight for this cause. Moreover, they build up activists for national policy debate and have mutual concessions for transformative reform. Furthermore, they inspect and collate evidence of unconstitutional, illegal, unethical, and undemocratic government strategies to show how a variety of groups and people are targeted.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Defending Rights and Dissent foundation has continued to advance their mission to promote democracy. First, by bringing together high-profile individuals in their open letter to the US President to stop the War on Terror. Secondly, they encouraged Congress and the general public to support the brave whistleblowers imprisoned for exposing the reality of drone warfare. Third, they helped Congresswoman Cori Bush in the drafting of the Protester Bill of Rights legislation. They also worked with members of Congress to introduce a bill they drafted, the Protect Brave Whistleblowers Act, as an amendment to the Protect Democracy Act.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Defending Rights and Dissent through their website. You can also promote their mission by working with your community to launch a campaign to pass local laws. 

Involve Foundation: Public Participation

Involve was founded in 2003 by Richard Wilson to examine how new kinds of public participation could promote democracy worldwide. Today, the charity works with various partners, such as governments, civil society, academics, and the public, to get people involved in decisions that affect their lives.

Their impact and transparency ratings: 

Based on their financial statements, the Involve Foundation spent 83.7% of their income on charitable activities and 3% on raising funds.

“We believe that people should be at the heart of decision-making.”

Involve Foundation

What they do: Involve focuses their work on three main areas. Firstly, they make a case for democracy and deliberation in a modern democracy. For example, they are creating a Democracy Network where people can better work together to improve democracy. They also embed change by building the capacity of those whose role it is to promote democratic standards. For example, through their Local Climate Engagement (LCE) program they train and mentor local authorities to engage in their local communities. In addition, they pioneer practices that encourage participatory and deliberative processes, such as their citizen’s jury project that works to reduce car dependency in Belfast. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Involve has remained dedicated to improving the democratic rights of communities, For example, throughout 2021, Involve collaborated with decision-makers in all four UK nations to encourage the participation of over 1,800 members of the public. They also participated in tens of thousands of hours of learning, deliberation, recommendation, and holding decision-makers accountable.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Involve through their website. You can also participate in their virtual and physical events. In addition, you can contribute to their programs by joining their networks, including the Deliberative Democracy Practioners’ Network, the Public Sector Peer Learning Network, the Democracy Network, and the Open Government Network.

Patchwork Foundation: Developing Political Knowledge and Skills

The Patchwork Foundation was founded in 2012 by Harris Bokhari to strengthen democracy by equipping young people with the necessary skills and experience to encourage active participation in democracy. Today, the charity supports communities and individuals that are traditionally underrepresented and engages young people to raise their voices.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Based on their financial statements, the Patchwork Foundation spent 83.9% of their total income on charitable activities and 0.3% on raising funds.

“To promote and encourage the positive integration of disadvantaged and minority communities into British democracy and civil society.”

Patchwork Foundation

What they do: The Patchwork Foundation enables under-represented communities to engage with mainstream politics through their #GetInvolved Programme. Through their Masterclass Programme, the charity educates and trains young adults from disadvantaged and minority communities with classes from top political and public figures. The charity also honors Members of Parliament (MPs) from across the United Kingdom who work actively with underrepresented and disadvantaged communities through their MP of the Year Awards. In addition, they host events for prominent politicians, including Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet members, to meet and address members of disadvantaged and minority communities.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Patchwork Foundation has provided more than 32,000 people with the opportunity to engage directly with decision-makers. They have also supported more than 8,000 young people to engage with mainstream politics. In addition, more than 300 young people have graduated from their Masterclass Programme.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Patchwork Foundation through their website. You can also support them by becoming a corporate patron

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities that promote democracy globally. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarize yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Donate a percentage of your online purchases. If you bought anything on sites like Amazon lately, you’d find a prompt asking you to donate to your favorite charities through their Amazon Smile program. You can set this up so that your chosen charities will get a fraction of your online purchases.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to promoting democracy globally – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,



PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

Sources

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Dennis Kamprad

Dennis is the founder of Impactful Ninja and passionate about enabling you to make a positive impact on the world & society. He started his professional career as a Sustainability Consultant and has worked on several social projects around the world. Outside of work, he is a passionate salsa dancer, fast runner, and multiple Ironman finisher.

Did you know that the internet is a huge polluter of the environment? But fortunately not this site. This site is powered by renewable energy and all hosting-related CO2 emissions are offset by three times as many renewable energy certificates. Find out all about it here.

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