PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If you’re planning to make a charitable donation this holiday season, make sure you get the most bang for the buck.

In this economy, all sorts of charities are desperate for donations, so choosing the best one for your money can be challenging.

Katherina Rosqueta, executive director of the Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania, says you need to do your homework: go online and make sure the charity uses the money effectively.

“There are lots of resources that are becoming more available for donors to do that,” Rosqueta told KYW Newsradio on Friday, “like the web site GiveWellCharity Navigator is (also) putting more information on their web site.  So if you look at them, donors will find nonprofit organizations that are doing the most good with the dollars they have available.”

Ask about how many people are helped, she advises.  If the group feeds the hungry, for example, find out how many meals have been served; and if they help battle housing foreclosures, what’s their success rate?

Reported by Lynne Adkins, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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