Charity Navigator, an organization dedicated to helping people give wisely, has some tips for people who want to donate.
Give to an established charity.
Giving to an organization with a good track record is better than giving to new charities that lack to infrastructure and knowledge to use your donation efficiently.
Designate your gift.
If you are not sure that the charity you're giving to knows how to best utilize your money, tell them exactly what you want the donation to go toward.
Do not give your credit card information to anyone over the phone. Instead, ask the charity to mail you information about their organization, do your own research and send the check online or in the mail.
Research and Follow Up.
Use Charity Navigator or another GiveSpot site to find a charity worthy of your support, and follow up to see how your donation was spent. Also, find out if the organization needs any additional support.
The Internet allows organizations instant access to your donations.