I donate clothing and household items to Big Brothers Big Sisters on a regular basis, and I donate both food and money to a local food bank network that supplies soup kitchens and free food pantries in my area.
I do not like giving money to people panhandling on the street, and I don't do that.
I regularly donate money to all sorts of charities--Doctors Without Borders, Meals On Wheels, ASPCA, Humane Society, American Cancer Society, my local Red Cross, National Wildlife Federation, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, UNICEF, as well as public television, a public radio station, my college alma mater, a private cardiac research foundation, and probably at least 5 or 6 others I just can't think of at the moment.
I also wonder exactly where my money is going, and how much of it is being spent on things like fund-raising and promotion. I have used this site, Charity Navigator, which evaluates charities, and I have found it helpful.
This is also some useful information--
How to check out a charity
What drives me crazy is the amount of unasked for (and generally unwanted) promotional feebies, "gifts", rewards, etc. I regularly receive (particularly from the Humane Society and the ASPCA)--key chains, T-shirts, gloves, throws, boxes of note cards or Christmas cards, tote bags, and calenders, in addition to the usual address labels and note pads I constantly seem to receive from everyone under the sun. One charity also keeps sending me a nickel--with each request to send them money. Well, if they have the money to send me all these free gifts, to thank me, or to induce me to contribute, they aren't using the money the way I'd like them to be using it--to help a person or animal in need, or to support a particular service. I'd rather they didn't send me most of these things, or any of them really, so that the maximun amount would go to the primary purpose for the existence of the charity. I'm at the point that, the more freebies a charity sends me, to bribe me into contributing, the less likely I am to send them a donation, because I feel what they are doing is wasteful.