12/09/2013 02:25 pm ET Updated Dec 10, 2013

The No. 1 Most Effective Way To Give Charity This Holiday Season

Alex Slobodkin via Getty Images

With the holiday giving season in full swing, you may be re-evaluating just how much to give to charitable causes and where to donate.

These are highly personal decisions, often influenced by our financial circumstances, life experiences or personal connections to a particular cause. But if you were to listen to a handful of ethicists and charity experts make their case, as I did this week, you might be swayed to send more of your money to people in distant lands. They argue that if giving is about pure altruism, individuals would be sending a greater share of their charitable dollars abroad; even small dollar amounts can have powerful results for people living in extreme poverty.