Physical and mental well-being
Donating to a charity makes you feel good. Allan Luks, author of The Healing Power of Doing Good, describes many scientifically documented accounts of people gaining physical, mental and emotional benefits from doing good. Luks even describes a "helper's high" that is similar to the high we feel after exercising.
Many companies have matching programs whereby employees contributions to a charity are matched by the employer. You'll want to find out if your company has such a program and determine the criteria for participation. Companies also have company sponsored events that promote team building. Participating in these kinds of company activities helps both you and your organization build their reputation within the community and the organization.
From a purely financial standpoint, giving to charity makes good sense. That’s because you can often “write off” the amounts you gave to charity on your tax forms. Business owners can especially benefit from this if they give through their businesses. To learn more about the tax benefits of giving, go to: http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=31
Where to dive?
There are tons of charities to choose from (over 1 million non-profits in the U.S. alone), and you'll want to do your research to determine the ones that are the best fits for you. Find a cause that speaks to your heart, but also research the charity itself to see how much of your donation ends up in the hands of those who need it (vs. administrative, overhead and marketing expenses). One of my favorite resources is CharityNavigator.org, an independent charity evaluator with information on over 5,000 U.S. charities. No matter how much you give, whether it be time or money or in-kind donations, you will benefit by helping others. I hope you have a very happy holiday!