Riley Heruska
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It's the season of giving, which means now is the perfect time to select a charity and contribute a donation. However, don't just pull a random charity's name out of a hat. When you donate, you should really think about who you're giving to and what the organization will do with the new funds. 

To help you narrow down the best charity for your passion and money, use these helpful tips while researching various non-profits and groups. 

1. Check Out Charity Navigator 

This website has rated more than 9,000 charities based on their transparency, financial health and accountability. This can help you find an organization that will use your donation effectively and honestly to make a difference. Search charities you already know about to see their ratings, or view Charity Navigator's top ten lists for inspiration. 

2. Think About What Cause Is Important to You

Donating becomes much more important and personal when you consider which organizations you're passionate about. If you or a relative suffered from childhood cancer, give to Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. Have a passion for animals? Consider donating to Last Chance for Animals or Animal Welfare Society. There are millions of different charity types in the world, so don't assume that you've heard of them all before. 

3. Steer Clear of Charities That Don't Offer Information About Their Finances 

It's always nice to know exactly how your donation will make an impact, both for the sake of your own curiosity and for safety reasons. Real charities with legitimate agendas will be happy to discuss their programs and finances, so don't fall prey to any organizations that keep secrets or pressure you into giving. 

Where are you donating this holiday season? Leave suggestions in the comments below! 

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