As odd as this sounds, making a charitable donation isn't easy. Placing money into a receptacle, donating clothes, a car, property or securities are all laudable and important actions. But a question to any prospective donor should always be... "How much of what I donate is actually making it to the persons' who need it?"
It is possible now, in this day and age of the internet, to examine a prospective charity before donating. Most charities must be registered within their respective State. In most cases, the specific State's Attorneys General Office will have information on their website that will connect you to specific offices within the charities State that will provide more detailed information. This link will take you to a page that has an up-to-date list of Attorneys General contact information... National Association of Attorneys General.
In addition, the Internal Revenue Service also maintains information on Charities... IRS Charities
After looking at quite a number of websites that provide information about individual charities, I suggest Charity Navigator. Charity Navigator appears to be providing open, unbiased information about national and international charities that are soliciting donations within the United States and abroad.
Lastly, the Federal Government is providing assistance and services during times of need throughout the world. To see what they are doing visit the U.S. State Department Website.
If you have any additional suggestions to help a person select a charity, please click here to send a suggestion.