2. Check for evidence of the charity's commitment to accountability and transparency
The best charities are transparent and accountable to the public. You should be able to see evidence of this in the information they provide on their web site. Can you readily find information about the charity's staff and Board of Directors? Did the charity publish its financial information such as its most recently filed Form 990 or audit?
Read the news
Check the charity's recent media coverage through Google news or another similar service to see if the charity has been involved in any questionable practices.
Look at pages 3-6 to see if the charity is committed to best practices. For example, does it have a conflict of interest policy? Does it have a whistleblower policy? Does it have a process for setting the CEO's pay?