Even in these dismal economic times, many people are still donating to charities. Or, people are thinking about making a planned gift, one that is realized upon death and is written into a will or beneficiary form. With so many good causes and organizations to support them, a person can be overwhelmed in deciding where to donate. One option would be to assess the charity in mind; does it spend a large proportion of its budget on administrative costs? A newspaper article alerted me to a web site that allows people to evaluate a charity's financial health -- it is called Charity Navigator and rates organizations based on the IRS 990 forms (similar to an income tax return).
I encourage you to visit the site and research an organization you are interested in. The site has list of the 10 organizations that are in the red, those that have sky high adm costs, and those that are doing wonderful.