There's no merrier time of the year for most non-profit organizations than December, when an estimated 31 percent of all donations come in.
In fact, 12 percent of all donations in any given year are made to charities in the final three days of December.
And 2016 may set even more impressive records, since the election of Donald Trump has increased donations to both pro-choice and gun-control advocacy groups - as well as general non-profit giving, since possible 2017 tax reforms could diminish the value of charitable donations.
But it's important to do some research before giving, just to be sure donations are going to the intended purpose. Here are some resources:
- The Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance has free reviews of 1,300 national charities.
- Charity Watch and Charity Navigator both independently review more than a thousand non-profits to help you make informed decisions.
- Guidestar.org lets you to browse hundreds of thousands of public IRS filings from non-profits for free, allowing you to learn about where a group's money is coming from - and going.
- And the state of Florida has a list of all non-profits currently registered to solicit funds in the state.
Most of the data is self-reported by each non-profit, but a little research can at least help you identify potential red flags with a group you may have previously thought was worthy of your money.