UNDATED - Your holiday budget might be tight, but there are still ways to help those in need this season, and they might not be what you think.

In tough times, creative charitable organizations are making it easier than ever to donate to worthy causes during the holidays. The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota's "Wise Giving Alliance" has advice for how to contribute to charities in efficient and economical ways.

First, donate items instead of money. Many organizations are looking for things like canned goods and gently used coats.

Second, seek out stores that donate a percentage of their profits to charity. Typically, these kinds of promotions will identify where a percentage of the purchase price will go, and some will even let you select from a list of organizations.

Third, donate your time. As much as organizations need money and items, they can always use extra volunteers for events and drives.

And one more  reminder - if you do choose to donate money online or via text message, double-check to make sure the organization has safety measures in place to protect your personal information.