Look at each charity's description and find the nonprofits that fit your criteria.
Evaluate how the charity defines its goals and evaluates its own performance. An effective charity has specific, measurable goals and uses concrete criteria to describe its achievements.
Avoid charities that won't share information or that pressure you. Reputable nonprofits discuss their programs and finances, avoid pressure tactics and are willing to send you literature about their work.
Trust your instincts. If you have doubts about a charity, don't contribute to it.
Source: GuideStar, a nonprofit organization that offers information about the programs and finances of more than 1.5-million IRS-recognized nonprofits.
TO DONATE MONEY
Specify donations for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
American Red Cross, 1-800-435-7669, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013. On the Web at www.redcross.org
Catholic Charities USA, 1-800-919-9338, Hurricane Katrina, P.O. Box 25168, Alexandria, VA 22313-9788. On the Web at www.catholiccharitiesusa.org
Christian Contractors Association, 1-800-278-7703, 2009 S Broad St., Brooksville, FL 34604. On the Web at www.ccaministry.org