'Tis the Season for Giving

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This is the time of year where the holiday spirit means people are typically feeling a little extra charitable.

The Salvation Army is one example of charity that benefits during the holiday season from donations.

"With our bell ringing, that helps us help people all year long with utilities, rent, food, and there is a great need in our community for that," said Salvation Army Captain, John Branscum.

But as you hand over the cash, do you ever wonder where that money actually goes?

Groups such as the Salvation Army say they make sure your contribution ends up in the proper hands.

"Every bell ringer that you see, we drop them (the volunteer) off. We are all accountable to one another, we drop them off, we pick them up," said Branscum. "Then we all journey back to the Salvation Army together, and count the money with four people that are non-related and we take it to the bank."

With so many charities, and so many ways to give, it still makes sense to take a few precautions before donating.

Precautions like doing a little bit of research.

"One of the most important things is that they have a board of directors and they have a stated purpose. Also, we need to know what their financial statement is, and how they handle their funds. And that they have a record of using the minimum of 65% of the money they receive as donations for the purpose they designate their charity towards."

If you want to give, there are several websites, such as give.org, that offer helpful tips in choosing charity.

By doing a little work beforehand, your charity can bring warmth to those in need without getting you burned.