9 Best Charities That Combat Loneliness (Complete 2024 List)

9 Best Charities That Combat Loneliness (Complete 2024 List)

By
Diana Stancu

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Loneliness is a rapidly spreading epidemic. The number of people who live alone has increased by 30% in the last few decades. As a result, 60% of American adults report feeling lonely, with Generation Z being the loneliest generation. What’s more, prolonged social isolation increases all-cause mortality by 32% and is as harmful to overall health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Fortunately, charities worldwide are fighting to provide critical emotional and mental support to people struggling with solitude. So we had to ask: What are the best charities that combat loneliness?

The best charities that combat loneliness are The Jed Foundation, For All Ages, and Senior Friendship Centers. Other charities, like Best Buddies International and the Samaritans, offer professional support to help people integrate into communities.

Whether you want to help people of all ages form meaningful connections, decrease the stigma around loneliness, or advance professional help for people who have a hard time coping emotionally with their lives, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities that combat loneliness are all about, how they work, and what would be your best way to make a contribution.

Here’s What All the Best Charities That Combat Loneliness Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their impact, mission, and level of support against loneliness. They mainly operate in North America, the UK, and Australia, helping community members find reliable social networks.  

Most of the charities below work to create friendly, intimate environments for people to open up and overcome feelings of isolation. 

In addition, they build social clubs to organize interactive activities, from nature walks and art creation to café meetups, to encourage self-expression in group settings. Some charities also provide classes on diverse subjects of interest to promote friendship-building through learning experiences. 

 Furthermore, some charities run helplines to offer immediate, professional support to anyone lonely and needing a compassionate listener. 

 Yet, all these charities share the same goal of lifting people out of loneliness and into connection.

These Are the 9 Best Charities That Combat Loneliness in 2024

Below are our favorite charities that combat loneliness (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):

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

1

The Jed Foundation: Together, We’re Changing Lives

Logo for the jed foundation
JED Campus Inaugural In-Person Convening

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Jed Foundation has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold the Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“We are strengthening the emotional health of teens and young adults to connect them so they can thrive today…and tomorrow.”

The Jed Foundation

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What they do:

The Jed Foundation helps young people build social connections and encourages help-seeking and help-giving behaviors to protect emotional health. For instance, their mentoring friendships equip teens with skills to transition to young adulthood. Furthermore, they work with high schools and campuses nationwide to create supportive networks and a culture of care for students’ social health. They also serve teachers to help their pupils open up and express their struggles while running workshops for college students to create safe spaces for connection. In addition, they mobilize entire communities to better tackle youth loneliness.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Jed Foundation has helped over 13.5 million students across 1,200 academic institutions in all 50 states to reduce isolation and create a social safety net for young people. In addition, they supported over 2 million teens and their families to prepare emotionally for college and adult life. Furthermore, in 2020, their educational campaigns and online resources helped 36 million Americans understand the consequences of loneliness and how to support struggling youth. In the same year, they served 15% of all US students and 9,000 institutions with supportive resources for social connections. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to The Jed Foundation on their website. In addition, you can volunteer or fundraise. Also, you can help struggling friends with their useful tips and mental health resources.

2

For All Ages: Because Every Age Matters

Logo for For All Ages
The Bear Fair - For All Ages

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Their transparency & ratings:

For All Ages holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“We know that older adults have acquired wisdom and experience that are often untapped. And we believe that uniting them with younger generations has the power to change lives and entire communities.”

For All Ages

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What they do:

For All Ages creates social connections across generations to improve their well-being and belongingness. For instance, their Tea at 3 program connects younger and older adults for a weekly phone call and 2 community-wide events each spring and fall. They also organize intergenerational art events to foster kindness and artistic creativity in groups. Furthermore, they run outdoor programs, like fishing derbies which unite generations to teach fishing skills and compete for prizes. In addition, their community walks and luminary nights connect adults of all ages to exercise in healthy, outdoor spaces.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, For All Ages has continued to help people tackle loneliness and foster connections. For example, in 2023, they united 11,200 people of all ages across their community-wide programs. In the same year, they created 9,000 hours of intergenerational connections, with 2,500 hours of outdoor activities such as fishing and walking together. In addition, they helped 3,300 people learn about the importance of social health through 8 educational programs. Moreover, they connected people across 78 towns and delivered 13,000 Christmas letter cards to isolated seniors. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to For All Ages on their website. You can also volunteer or buy their merchandise. In addition, you can join their corporate educational programs for all ages.

3

Senior Friendship Centers: The Power Of Connection

Logo for Senior Friendship Centers
Senior Friendship Centers

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Their transparency & ratings:

Senior Friendship Centers has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“We believe that isolation and loneliness are the malnutrition of aging. We want to empower older adults to make meaningful connections and improve all aspects of health.”

Senior Friendship Centers

⚒️

What they do:

Senior Friendship Centers helps lonely older adults connect in groups and foster friendships with interactive activities like art creation or dance and exercise. They also organize learning classes and make holidays together to strengthen a sense of community. In addition, their Day Care provides seniors with socialization and other bonding opportunities like art or pet therapy. Furthermore, they support elders with limited mobility by pairing volunteers to socialize at home and give phone calls to improve their emotional wellness. Moreover, they have an Elder Helpline and run support groups for isolated grieving spouses. 

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their inception, Senior Friendship Centers has continued to support lonely elders seeking connection. For example, in 2020, they invested over $12 million to serve 10,000 seniors across 20,000 hours of support. In the same year, their 412 volunteers made 7,500 telephone reassurance calls to homebound elders and visited 3,000 seniors in person, in their homes, to create meaningful relationships. In addition, their group activity centers offered 3,400 hours of emotional support and learning opportunities. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to Senior Friendship Centers on their website. You can also contribute by donating your vehicle, volunteering, or joining their public events

4

Best Buddies International: A Global Connection Movement

logo for Best Buddies International
Best Buddies: One-To-One Friendships

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Their transparency & ratings:

Best Buddies International has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“We envision a world where people with IDD are so successfully integrated into schools, workplaces and communities that our current efforts and services will be unnecessary.”

Best Buddies International

⚒️

What they do:

Best Buddies International helps people with IDD form meaningful friendships with non-disabled peers to improve their quality of life and inclusion in the community. They do this by working in schools and high schools nationwide to tackle loneliness and group exclusion while supporting creative ways to build new friendships. They also foster one-to-one connections between college students with IDD and their peers on campus and through online forums. In addition, they connect adults with and without IDD in corporate and civic communities to decrease adult isolation and strengthen inclusive bonds. 

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Best Buddies International has grown into a global volunteering movement spanning all 50 states and 49 countries worldwide. For example, in 2022, they improved social and career opportunities for 1.2 million people with IDD across 3,400 global divisions. In the same year, they helped over 12,000 children with and without IDD from 614 elementary and middle schools to make new friendships. They also decreased social isolation for 80,000 youth across 2,000 high schools and colleges. Furthermore, they united 13,500 adults through online forums and civic communities to tackle loneliness. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to Best Buddies International on their website. In addition, you can join their awareness events, become an advocate for IDD, or volunteer

5

Samaritans: We’re Here to Listen

Logo for Samaritans
What happens when you call Samaritans?

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Their transparency & ratings:

According to their financial report, Samaritans spent 80% of their total income on charitable activities and 20% on fundraising costs. 

“We make sure people have somewhere to turn and support when they need it most. We work with communities to let people know we’re here for them and we make loneliness prevention a priority.” Samaritans

⚒️

What they do:

The Samaritans operates a non-stop, free helpline, along with other contacting methods, to offer unconditional, nonjudgmental support to anyone struggling with loneliness or other emotional burdens. They also have local branches where they speak to people face-to-face to alleviate their solitude. In addition, they support schools and workplaces to create honest connections among colleagues to help the vulnerable open up and the others to foster empathy. Furthermore, they provide online resources for people who feel isolated or have a difficult time coping with their lives, as well as people who want to support their loved ones

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their inception, the Samaritans has continued to serve people experiencing loneliness. For example, in 2022, they responded to almost 3 million telephone calls and were on the phone with at least one person in need every second of the year. Furthermore, their volunteers spent 1 million hours responding to calls across more than 200 branches nationwide. In the same year, they recruited and trained 4,000 new listening volunteers. They also supported 46,000 people through online chats across 27,000 hours. In addition, they served 500 milk processors across rural Ireland who live and work in isolation.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the Samaritans on their website. In addition, you can volunteer as a Samaritan, buy their apparel, or start a fundraiser

6

u3a: Learn, Laugh, Live

Logo for u3a
Do Something Brilliant Today | u3a uk

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Their transparency & ratings:

According to their financial report, u3a spent 70% of their total income on charitable expenses and 30% on administrative costs. 

“We run local interest groups that provide a wide range of opportunities for seniors to come together to learn for fun.”

u3a

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What they do:

u3a helps seniors connect while expanding their knowledge and interests. For example, their online community helps older people join groups and courses from the comfort of their homes. Furthermore, people can access online learning events to improve their skills while creating new friendships. They also run Subject Networks for like-minded members to learn from each other within a subject of interest. In addition, they run national artistic competitions, from poetry to photography and painting, to promote group learning. Also, they offer group walking events and research-led learning to improve seniors’ knowledge and social abilities. 

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, u3a has become a UK-wide movement that funds over $1 million each year to help 430,000 seniors socialize and share skills across 1,000 local branches. For example, their learning groups have helped create 90 Subject Advisers who taught news skills to peers across 81 topics of interest. They have also invested in 103 online learning groups to promote discussions across 8 global themes, from technology to literature. Furthermore, they have provided 12 platforms for older people to connect around common passions. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to u3a on their website. You can also contribute by fundraising or buying their Third Age Matters magazine

7

Friends for Good: We Want to Free People From Loneliness

Logo for Friends for Good
Loneliness: The silent epidemic | ABC News

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Their transparency & ratings:

According to their financial report, Friends for Good spent 60% of their total income on charitable activities and 40% on administrative and fundraising costs. 

“We call loneliness the hidden suffering of the modern age. We fight to foster a greater sense of connection and wellbeing for individuals and communities.”

Friends for Good

⚒️

What they do:

Friends for Good runs a telephone helpline to offer emotional support and friendly interactions to anyone experiencing loneliness. They also have an online chat to connect with supportive volunteers. Furthermore, they organize community activities such as yoga and mindfulness to relax with local peers and create art projects to express creativity focused on friendship. In addition, they provide professional support to those experiencing loneliness to give courage for new relationships. Also, they run research projects and other campaigns to better understand how to fight loneliness nationwide. 

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their inception, Friends for Good has improved the way people tackle isolation nationwide. For example, they developed the first Australian-wide research into the stigma around loneliness and the first Australian-wide survey about the prevalence and impact of loneliness. Furthermore, in 2022, they invested over $430,000 across their programs to help excluded individuals re-engage with communities. In the same year, their telephone helpline reduced feelings of alienation for 98% of callers and equipped 89% with better skills to cope with solitude.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to Friends for Good on their website. You can also contribute by volunteering or engaging in their corporate-wide activities

8

The Wolfpack Project: Fighting Loneliness and Promoting Positive Mental Health for Youth

The Wolfpack Project | Fighting Loneliness in Nottingham

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Their transparency & ratings:

According to their financial report, The Wolfpack Project spent 70% of their total income on charitable activities and 30% on administrative costs. 

“Whilst young people communicate more than ever digitally, they’re forming less meaningful and lasting connections as online communication detracts them from real-life social encounters. We offer them the opportunity to connect again.”

The Wolfpack Project

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What they do:

The Wolfpack Project helps young people create connections and build resilience. For this, they first connect new members with their Mental Health First Aid Manager to provide a confidential space to chat and help overcome barriers around social isolation. Then, members can attend social groups and events for youth, helping them to build bonds and create a social support network they can rely on. Furthermore, their gatherings include coffee mornings and cinema trips, as well as art workshops and outdoor group activities, to offer something that everyone would enjoy. 

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Wolfpack Project has continued to provide social and emotional support to youth in need. For example, in 2020, they helped 4,250 people attend events and meet-ups to make new friends. In the same year, they supported 750 individuals to access one-to-one or group support and offered 350 Wellbeing Wolf-Packs. Furthermore, after becoming members, 100% of people said they felt more likely to make friends and 87% felt The Wolfpack Project helped them feel less isolated and improved their mental health. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to The Wolfpack Project on their website. You can also support them by reading their blog or shopping online to donate

9

b:friend: Let’s End Loneliness Together. Let’s Befriend.

logo for b:friend
Dorothy & Jane | b:Friend

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Their transparency & ratings:

According to their financial report, b:friend spent 99.5% of their total income on charitable activities and 0.5% on fundraising expenses. 

“Loneliness exists and we want to help end it. We do community support in its most authentic form.”

b:friend

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What they do:

b:friend helps volunteer befrienders to visit a socially isolated older neighbor near them for one hour per week to chat and share a coffee or tea. They pair individuals based on location and compatibility while offering regular support to ensure they are both benefiting from the project. In addition, they organize weekly Social Clubs for seniors to engage in interactive activities in a community setting and create friendships. Moreover, their group sessions range from dancing lessons such as Zumba to mandala art and drumming to ensure inclusivity and positive outcomes for all involved. 

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their inception, b:friend has supported 3,600 lonely seniors and helped 2,500 friendships among pairs to last more than a year from their first meeting. For example, in 2022, they united 627 volunteer befrienders and isolated neighbors who met over 38,500 times in total. In the same year, they organized 528 Social Club sessions and served 33,500 volunteering hours to support older people in need of connection. Furthermore, they invested nearly $350,000 across their one-to-one and community events.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to b:friend on their website. You can also help by volunteering or starting a corporate partnership. In addition, you can buy their b:tasty cookbook from their befriender community. 

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities that combat loneliness. 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. 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.
  • 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 combating loneliness—based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

Illustration of a signature for Diana

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:

The way we think about charity is dead wrong | Dan Pallotta

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