Holiday Spirit: Top Tips For Charitable Giving | Reader's Digest

Holiday Spirit: Top Tips For Charitable Giving

By Alyssa Jung

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, stories of giving are already making headlines, and those red Salvation Army kettles are starting to appear. There’s even a new campaign to make the Tuesday after Thanksgiving “#GivingTuesday” this year.

But with so many people in need around the world—and so many charitable organizations to choose from—it can be daunting to find a nonprofit or cause that’s right for you.

Well, the internet is here to help. Check out these websites that can make giving back a little easier.

• Charitynavigator.org provides an A-Z directory of nonprofits nationwide. It also posts top ten lists like “10 Top Notch Charities,” “10 Charities Expanding in a Hurry,” and “10 Celebrity-related Charities,” as well as a blog with tips for smart giving.

• Similarly, Nonprofitlist.org allows you to search for charities by city, state, or zip code. It also updates its front page with recently added charities and featured organizations.

• If you need a little inspiration, Wish Upon a Hero will give your heartstrings the tug they need. People post wishes on the “social helping network” and family, friends or strangers can choose to lend a hand. The organization behind it, the Wish Upon a Hero Foundation, posts wishes that were fulfilled on its site. So far, more than 90,000 wishes have been granted, with recent ones being a New Jersey teen receiving more than $56,000 to help support her family after Hurricane Sandy and a little girl battling neuroblastoma getting a call from her favorite singer, Taylor Swift.

• Give while you surf the web with goodsearch.com, powered by Yahoo! Just choose your charity, search the web or shop online, and the philanthropic search engine will donate a penny per web search to your chosen cause.

•Take a more active role with dosomething.org, a website aimed at getting young people involved in volunteering. Pick a campaign and get involved with a simple donation or by running your own event. Current campaigns target bullying, animals, hunger, cancer and Hurricane Sandy relief.