I don't donate to any charities unless I have first done the following:
1) Looked online for complaints about the charity and checked their status with various charity watch groups.
2) Checked to see if the charity has been in business for more than 3 years.
3) Verified exactly where and to who their funds go and for what.
I began doing this several years ago when I realized that the United Way (a group that most businesses tend to support and ask their employees to) provides funding for organizations that are considered by many fathers' rights groups to be anti-male and anti-family (at least in my state).
Just because an organization that the United Way helps provide funding for sounds good does not mean that it promotes interests that benefit you and the community.
We should not only check out charities, but we should also check out each organization that a charity provides funding to. Some organizations that you are inadvertantly supporting may just be lobbying government to pass legislation that actually hurts you financially or which goes against your moral values.