Charitable donations amounted to more than 373 billion in 2015, with the biggest amounts coming from individuals at 268 billion or 71%.
There are more than one and a half million charitable organizations in the United States, and attorneys advise that you familiarize yourself with the group and their mission and find out how it uses contributions to further its cause.
There are also online sites such asCharitynavigator.org or Give.org which not only grade the charities but serve as watchdogs to make sure they do what they say they are going to do. These sites will also tell you what percentage of donation money actually goes toward the mission of the organization, and how much for administration.
The Better Business Bureau is another source of information, to check for complaints, and to find out if the group is actually considered a charity you can go to the IRS website or Guidestar.org.