The safest and easiest ways to donate on Giving Tuesday

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Did you know Giving Tuesday got its start just a few blocks from here, six years ago. It was originally the brain child of the 92 Street Y. And it's taken off, last year donations topped $170 million, up 44 percent from the year before. But how do you get involved and ensure your donations go the farthest?

First, you can give socially. You could double your donations on Facebook. Bill and Melinda Gates are matching all donations that come through the social media giant, up to $2 million.

And time is money as they say. So instead of donating your money, donate your time by volunteering. has a database of local charities. All you have to do is put in your home address, and you'll get a list of organizations for you to choose from.

But if you are going to give money, remember my three golden rules.

Check out your charity. There are sound alike charities that may appear legit. Check them out online.

And ask what percentage of your donation goes to the charity's purpose. A report released today by the New York Attorney General found that a third of all donated dollars in New York State last year, more than $400 million went to professional fundraisers, not the charity.

And the way to cut out paid fundraisers, simply donate directly to the charity. That cuts out the middle man.

Remember, you have till the end of the year to contribute to claim a tax deduction on this year's taxes.

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