There’s a website which I think everyone should know about. At Give.org you can research a number of different charities. They provide detailed financial reports on each charity and break down how much money actually gets to the programs the charity is promoting (as opposed to administrative and advertising cost). I think it’s a good sign when a non-profit opens itself to public financial accountability. It protects givers from unscrupulous entities that wrap themselves in “good works” and also discourages givers from giving to organizations that can’t control their operating cost (if a charity has operating cost over 30% it’s a pretty bad charity). As much as we’d like to believe people that they are doing a good job with our money, there are just too many examples of the love of money corrupting people to not be wise. Personally I would not donate my money to a “big name” organization that wasn’t on their list at all.