With the leaves starting to fall and snow right around the corner, yet another year is drawing to a close. And as December approaches, so does the time when people open their hearts and their pocketbooks in the hope of doing good deeds that just happen to come with a helpful tax deduction. You guessed it: It's charitable giving season!

Maybe it's the spirit of the season, or maybe it's just procrastination, but the end of the year seems to be the most popular time to make charitable gifts. If you're one of the many who wait until the last possible moment before following through with making those gifts you've planned to give all year, don't worry. Your charity appreciates your donation very much.

What some people don't realize is that many employers encourage their employees to make donations to charity by offering to match their donations. So if you give $100 to charity, your employer might well add $50, $100, or even $200 of the employer's own money. By taking advantage of your employer's generosity, you can double or even triple the impact of your gift.

This won't happen automatically, though. If your employer doesn't know about your gift, then, of course, your charity won't get the match. Most employers have established procedures on how to inform them about gifts you intend to make so that they can send matching gifts directly to the charity. You may need to fill out a form, send an e-mail to your human resources department, or make a copy of your donation check.

But remember: Needy people are counting on you. Don't let laziness be the reason that your charity misses out on desperately needed extra money from your employer's matching-gift program. Before the end of the year rolls around, find out what you need to do to make your match happen.

Foolanthropy 2006 kicked off this week. The Fool's annual charity drive celebrates its 10th year of helping worthy charities. Stop by the Foolanthropy discussion board and nominate your charity today.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger likes companies that back up their employees by matching gifts. The Fool has a disclosure policy.