When someone accumulates wealth over time they might want to consider setting up a charitable trust. Two main types of trusts exist for individuals: a charitable remainder trust, which gives money to charities after other beneficiaries receive money, and a charitable lead trust, which allocates money to charities before other interests receive money.

The decision on where to give money through a charitable trust depends in large part on the personal wishes of the donor.

Top U.S. charities by dollar amount

Forbes identified 20 of the largest charity organizations for private donations. United Way Worldwide took first place in 2016 by receiving just over $3.7 billion. Much of this money came from workplace donations authorized by employees and the money went to charities specified by each donor. The Task Force for Global Health, which sends donated medicines abroad, received $3.15 billion. Feeding America, an umbrella organization for food banks throughout the country, reported gifts valued at $2.15 billion, much of it in the form of donated food.

Top charities by effectiveness

When choosing a charity for a trust, a person might consider the effectiveness of an organization. Consumers Reports used a variety of criteria to determine the worst and best charities to give money to. Standards included adequate board oversight, strong conflict of interest policies and low administrative fees.

Some of the top charities on the list included American Humane and PetSmart Charities for animal welfare, Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind and Hearing Health Foundation for blind and hearing-impaired charities, and Breast Cancer Research Foundation for cancer charities. Click on how to give assets to charity to learn more about setting up a charitable trust.