Discussion: How do you know that your holiday giving is going to the right place?

The World
Children queue for aid at a makeshift center erected by a charity in an earthquake-damaged district of Padang, Indonesia's West Sumatra, 2009.

Children queue for aid at a makeshift center erected by a charity in an earthquake-damaged district of Padang, Indonesia's West Sumatra, 2009.

Dylan Martinez/Reuters

When it comes to giving, the choices can be overwhelming.

Should you give to a charity? How do you know who to trust? Is it better to just give cash to the people who need it? I've done extensive reporting on what makes charities successful — and what happens when charities go wrong — but now I'm turning attention to the holidays.

For the next few days, I’m going to be answering your questions about effective holiday giving. There are so many pressing social problems in this country and across the globe and there are myriad causes doing important work.

Amy Costello

Amy Costello

The fact is, there are no easy answers. If there were, most of our big global and domestic problems would have been solved by now.

But there are still ways that you can become more informed about your giving. Lately I’ve talked to smart people who have devoted their careers to issues around philanthropy and effective giving. I want to know what questions you have about charitable giving. Please leave your questions here in the comments or post them on our Facebook chat, going on all weekend, and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Next week, we'll feature your questions in a story here on PRI.org and on The World.

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