Gift Givers' Guide For the Holidays

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ The holiday season is the biggest time of the year for charities to raise donations - many receive as much as half of their yearly donations between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.

Florida's consumer watchdog agency urges you to check out charities before you reach into your wallet to make any donations.

The Gift Givers' Guide from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is intended to help make sure your contribution actually goes to the people who need it.

Spokeswoman Liz Compton says the guide lets you check to see if a charity is registered with the state of Florida. She says that's a huge red flag if it's not.

The Gift Giver's Guide includes financial information about every registered charity in Florida. There are more than 12,000.

It tells you how much money a charity has raised and where that cash is going.

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