Charitable giving in the U.S. rose almost four percent last year.

Thanks to technology and the creativity of charities, there are many different ways donors can give to a worthy cause.

Whether you’re giving money, goods, or time, the Better Business Bureau has some tips to keep your efforts secure.

"You really want to check out the business. You can do that at BBBwisegiving. You want to make sure that the charity is who they say they are. You want to find out how much of the money they receive actually goes to serving others."

Luanne Kadlub, regional representative for the Better Business Bureau, says despite bad financial times people still want to give.

She says at the Better Business Bureau website you can hook into the Wise Giving Alliance and get information about many national charities.

"There are a lot of look-alike charity names and they do that so you think your giving to the well known charity when really you're giving to one that pockets most of the money, rather than using it to benefit their clients and customers."

Kadlub points out that, when donating, donations made with a credit or debit card will be available a lot quicker than one that's been made via text. Text donations generally take about 60 to 90 days to reach the charity.

Other things to keep mind, if your giving items make sure they're in good condition.

Before you give online be sure you give the website a thorough review, look for the organization’s privacy policy, and verify if the organization has appropriate security measures in place to protect your transaction.

And if your feeling the pinch of a tight economy, give of your time this holiday season.