When you decide you want to donate to charity and have the funds to do so, you may feel overwhelmed by your giving choices. The good news is there are a variety of ways to find the charities that are doing the work you would have done in a cost-effective way.

Here’s What You Can Do in an Hour or Two to Find the Best Charity for You:

Take Five Minutes to Think About the Causes You Care About

Is it world hunger, animal rights and welfare, or world and local health? Once you’ve narrowed down your thoughts to two or three causes, think about some of the actions you could take. Would volunteering be best or is donation the right path? Would this be done by a local charity or do you need to contact an international or global one? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you with the next step.

 Do a General Google Search

As simple as it is, starting with a Google search can help a lot. Search for the type of charity you want or just charities that do X task you want. If you want a charity in your local community, add the name of your city. If you’d like to donate to a charity that does work on a global scale, include the word “global” –  same with “national.” Use tools such as charitynavigator.org and guidestar.org to learn more about charities and to do a search on a site specifically dedicated to charity evaluation.

Take Quick Free Online Course

Clearthinking.org offers a free online tool that helps you evaluate what causes might be important to you and how you could help them. The course takes about 25 minutes to complete, and can help you define both the causes and ways you’d like to donate. You may even decide to change your career path. The only caution in this course is that it’s fairly limited on your options for which charity it selects. Thus, you want to do additional research if you don’t want to do something with those charities.

 Look Around Your Community.

One of the most important parts of charity donation is feeling like you’re a part of your community. Ask the people you care about what charities they donate to. Read the local newspaper and find out if there is a charity that has an immediate need you can help with. Ask your house of worship what programs they’re running. This often appears on their website. Volunteering is always an option, too. When you volunteer skills that are highly needed, it can be worth just as much or more than money.

Make Phone Calls.

No matter how much information is available online, there is no substitute for phone calls when it comes to gathering information. Talk to volunteer coordinators and program managers to get details on where your dollar or time is best spent. With a little time and patience, you’ll find the charities that earn your attention, and you can do good for the world and your community.