So if yesterday’s retail-a-thon was not quite your thing, here’s an even better alternative. There’s giving, and then there’s giving

train a guide dog for the blind at www.fidelco.org

train a guide dog for the blind at http://www.fidelco.org

Feed the hungry, save the earth, cure disease, give sight to the blind, teach someone to read.

You have the power to do it all–how cool is that? Here’s my favorite tool for charitable giving: Charity Navigator. This site rates organizations with respect to how much of your donation is actually used to help the cause. PLEASE check out a charity before you fork over your hard-earned cash. You want to make sure the organization isn’t drowning in administrative costs.

Here, in no particular order, are just a few of the places I’ve given to this year. All have 4-star or better ratings from Charity Navigator–

The cool thing about making charitable contributions is that a) it’s instant gratification so you don’t actually have to shop, b) it’s tax deductible and c) it’s so very, very necessary. To honor someone with a gift in their name, you can just print out the acknowledgment page and put it in a card. This is a huge problem solver, especially if you want to do something nice for a large group, like your entire literary agency. Do it! Do it now!

So–where do you give each year? Post in comments!