I'd like to take an informal poll: Do you give to those holiday bell ringers that stand outside of stores looking for donations?
While there are a few organizations that do that type of fundraising, Salvation Army, a BBB accredited charity, is the most well-known. While I have little doubt that donations to them are doing good things for the people they serve, I have mixed feelings about this type of fundraising.
*It is difficult to know how much control their is over collections. I'm sure it drives accountants nuts. It is hard to tell for absolute certain that the $5 you put in that kettle will make it's way to the local Salvation Army. But, honestly, it's not very common. It may happen in a few well-publicized cases but it is very rare.
*It's a high-pressure sale. At least, it can be, if you're the type of person that is easily swung into a guilt trip. This guilt trip could be made considerably worse if your 6-year-old asks why other people are putting change in the red bucket but you're not.