With only hours remaining in the old year, you have to act fast if you want to pile up some charitable deductions for 2007. Here's how to check out some of your philanthropic options.
GuideStar. This site invites you to use its database to "verify a nonprofit's legitimacy, learn whether a contribution will be tax-deductible," read its financial filings, and check out its mission and programs. Recently, the site added the ability for users to search for the sort of charities they like, and make contributions. You can even give to GuideStar, which is, itself, a nonprofit organization.
Responsive philanthropy. The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy is a group that promotes accountability, researches how such activity as bank mergers affect banks' philanthropic activities, and looks for ways to help charities in marginalized communities get the funding they need.
Charity Navigator. For the holiday season, this site gave advice for making your contributions count this year. Its list of pointers: Help those hurt by the lending crisis, examine each charity's spending habits, give without strings attached, give online, and avoid telemarketers. The site rates charities by category, such as highest- to lowest-rated civil rights and advocacy groups, food banks, and environmental protection organizations.
Investigating businesses. This site for journalists, provided by the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting, provides links (including some aforementioned) for looking into nonprofit groups, as well as for checking out public documents on for-profit companies.