Giving to charities should only be done after research and planning, according to the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog "Make the Holiday Season Your Reason for Giving."
There are many reasons to support charities and the holiday season often brings those thoughts to the surface; it is the season to be generous but also the end of the year and thoughts of charitable deductions.
For starters, make sure any charity is registered with the IRS. That helps ensure most of the donated money is used for charitable purposes and you will be able to deduct the gift. You can also research charities online to determine whether they have a good reputation and use donations appropriately.
An estate planning attorney can guide you to charitable giving that could be linked to your estate planning.
Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (Oct. 16, 2016) "Make the Holiday Season Your Reason for Giving."