Norgeskogs's experience is pretty much what happens to many other charities. Not all, but many. I'm very careful how my family and I donate.
Most of my recent donations have been in the form of goods to the food bank and battered women and children's shelters. When I hear the food bank is running short, I call and ask what they need the most and I order it and have it delivered. They send me a receipt for the goods for my records.
I also call up my friends, especially those who are [no politics please] , and I shame them into donating. :)