By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) —  With the deal-grabbing of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us, today is a day dedicated to giving back.  It’s known as GivingTuesday.

GivingTuesday is a 24 hour online campaign that began three years ago, dedicated to encouraging people to make donations to charities and volunteer. But you really need to do your homework first.

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As the Hollyfield family searches for a Christmas tree, they say the season for them is really about family and giving.

“We give to the United Way and we feel really good about that but it’s always nice to just know that you’re directly giving to your local community,” said Cheryl Hollyfield.

This year they chose to give in a different way paying for a college student to come back home for the holidays.

“The mom sent numerous messages about how grateful she was because she couldn’t do it on her own, so that was awesome,” sad Hollyfield.

It was an easy choice and they knew exactly where their money was going, but do you?

Charities receive about a third of their yearly donations during the holidays but the Better Business Bureau says don’t just give to give.  Do your research and watch for name similarities.

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“They will dupe you into believing that you’re giving to the cause that you think you are but you’re really giving to a scam artist someone trying to take your money,” said Bryan Oglesby with the Better Business Bureau.

The BBB also warns, never feel pressured to give on the spot.

“Charities should be willing to be open to be transparent and provide all the information you need so you can make a sound donation,” said Oglesby.

Last year, GivingTuesday raised an estimated $45 million, with more than 15,000 non-profit organizations getting involved around the U.S.  This year that number has doubled to more than 30,000 organizations.

For more information, click on these links below:

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