Published: Dec 06, 2010 12:11 PM EST
Updated: Dec 06, 2010 9:11 AM EST

Donations may be down during this holiday season, but the good news is people are still looking for creative or small ways to give back.  Technology and the creativity of charities are making it easier for people to give donations, and whether you are giving money, canned goods or items you just don't use anymore -- remember that how you give is important too.
Here are five easy steps you can take to make your dollar stretch when giving back this holiday season.
First -- many organizations ask for coats, toys and canned goods. Make sure when you are donating the items are in good condition and that the recipient charity is accepting these items.
Second -- give while you shop.  Many businesses partner up with charities and they will donate a portion of their sales to a worthy cause.
Also,  you can give online.  This is one of the most efficient ways to support a charity, but make sure to check the website thoroughly for their privacy policy before entering your credit or debit card number.
You can donate through text messaging.  This is fast and easy too- when you text the charity, the donation is just added to your cell phone bill.  Although this is fast on your end, it can take the charity months to receive your generous gift so you can try donating directly to a charity's website if there is an urgent need.
Finally, give your time. In today's tight economy if giving money is a stretch, you can always give a little bit of your time by volunteering. 

There are more than 12-hundred charitable organizations nationwide.  To check out more tips for giving when times are tight -- you can visit