It is wise to do your research before donating your time and money to any non-profit organization.
Research your organization online: There are several websites that review non-profit charitable aid organizations. On these sites you can obtain information about who runs the charity, what kind of activities they engage in, financial information and reviews from supporters. A few good ones are:
Contact the charity directly: Most charitable aid organizations are more than happy to tell you about the work that they are doing. Get to know the people running the organization.
Ask for references: Most charitable aid organizations should be able to provide you with contact information of people that have worked or volunteered with them. Ask about their experiences and what their impressions were of the organization.