For companies whose tax strategies include some form of charitable giving, through outright donations or a corporate foundation, here are two invaluable sources of hard-to-get financial information on national nonprofit groups:

* The Philanthropic Advisory Service of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (Dept. 023, Washington, DC 20042-0023; 703-247-9323) produces an Annual Charity Index ($9.95 plus $1 shipping and handling), which includes up-to-date summaries of fund-raising, management, and other expenses, as well as program goals, for some 200 charities.

* The National Charities Information Bureau (19 Union Sq. W., 6th Floor, New York, NY 10003; 212-929-6300) updates Wise Giving Guide (free), which reports on about 400 national charities, three times a year. -- Jill Andresky Fraser