If the spirit of giving strikes you over the holidays, the Web is an excellent place to search for and evaluate charities.
A good place to start is the Better Business Bureau's Web site at http://www.bbb.org, which publishes financial reports on numerous charities, including how much of the money they collect actually goes to the causes they support. The Better Business Bureau site also lists addresses and phone numbers of the charities included in its site.
One of the more interesting charity sites is at http://www.impactonline.org, a nonprofit organization based in Palo Alto. The site, which is undergoing a redesign for the 1996 holidays, is designed to help people connect with charities and volunteer organizations in their communities.
Another useful site is http://www.charitiesusa.com/ charitiesusa/NPOlinks.html, which provides links to various charity directories on the Web. Of course, search engines such as Yahoo can also be used to find information on charities.