NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Now that the holidays are here and people are looking to give back, experts urge the generous to also be give smart and look at charity group’s financial health, accountability and transparency before donating.

Michael Thatcher, CEO of Charity Navigator, joined CBSN New York’s Alex Denis about his group’s holiday charity checklist.

  • Review last year’s contributions and evaluate if your money was well spent. Consider adjusting this year’s contribution accordingly.
  • Are your charities financially healthy, following good practices and showing evidence of your contribution?
  • Decide what resonates with you and select a specific charity.
  • Concentrate giving: Unlike other important investments, diversification isn’t a requirement. A well-thought out charitable gift pays untold dividends down the road.

As for new tax laws, Charity Navigator says we won’t know the full impact until taxes are filed. One major change is that the standard deduction has been increased, but not everyone will be able to itemize deductions.