This is the time of year when it seems you can't go for fifteen minutes without having to pull out your wallet for something. And by the 23rd, we figure you're probably really desperate and buying complete crap (Unless, of course, it's SFist Schwag which says Happy Festivus like nothing else.) just to have something under the tree.
The fact is - in our cube farms and windowless offices we work hard and sell our souls to the man for cash. And we need to be smart about where we spend it. So how do you decide which charity to support? SFist Cares has some resources for you:
Forbes annual list of American's Most (and Least) Efficient Charities is a good place to start. They focus mainly on the big, national groups but those are often where people first think to give their money. The efficiency ratio of a charity is one of the easiest factors to consider when looking at how well a charity might use your money - how much of what you send them is going to go right to the people they're trying to help vs. back into more administrative or fundraising expenses. The Better Business Bureau also has really good reports on national charities and how well they match up to a set of 20 voluntary standards defining how a well-run non-profit operates.