You should consider "giving" to Kiva.org. It's not a charity. Rather, it's a program that does everything that the United States welfare system does not do: Encourages the poor to do something other than bilk taxpayers. You can check the site out here.
Here is a longer explanation of the organization (provided to me via e-mail):
I just made a loan to someone in the developing world using a revolutionary new website called Kiva (www.kiva.org).
You can go to Kiva's website and lend to someone in the developing world who needs a loan for their business - like raising goats, selling vegetables at market or making bricks. Each loan has a picture of the entrepreneur, a description of their business and how they plan to use the loan so you know exactly how your money is being spent - and you get updates letting you know how the entrepreneur is going.
The best part is, when the entrepreneur pays back their loan you get your money back - and Kiva's loans are managed by microfinance institutions on the ground who have a lot of experience doing this, so you can trust that your money is being handled responsibly.
I just made a loan to an entrepreneur named Dorothy Naigaga's Group in Uganda. They still need another $2,875.00 to complete their loan request of $4,400.00 (you can loan as little as $25.00!). Help me get this entrepreneur off the ground by clicking on the link below to make a loan to Dorothy Naigaga's Group too:
It's finally easy to actually do something about poverty - using Kiva I know exactly who my money is loaned to and what they're using it for. And most of all, I know that I'm helping them build a
sustainable business that will provide income to feed, clothe, house and educate their family long after my loan is paid back.
Join me in changing the world - one loan at a time.
What others are saying about www.Kiva.org:
'Revolutionising how donors and lenders in the US are connecting with small entrepreneurs in developing countries.'
'If you've got 25 bucks, a PC and a PayPal account, you've now got the wherewithal to be an international financier.'
-- CNN Money
'Smaller investors can make loans of as little as $25 to specific individual entrepreneurs through a service launched last fall by Kiva.org.'
-- The Wall Street Journal
'An inexpensive feel-good investment opportunity...All loaned funds go directly to the applicants, and most loans are repaid in full.'
-- Entrepreneur Magazine