There are all kinds of people in the world who are in need of charitable assistance. Fortunately, there are many others with the means and desire to provide that assistance.
The normal method of donating is to give to an established charitable organization and to let them sort through the people requesting assistance and donate to those most worthy. What if you have found a particular individual you would like to help directly? Certainly you can give to him or her. However, if you hope to deduct the donation from your taxes, then you do need to be aware of the rules.
The Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog discussed this issue in "Charitable Giving to Individuals."
If you are hoping to give to someone directly, then they need to have a private foundation pre-approved for the purpose. Furthermore, you need to be able to prove that you chose to give to them in a fair and non-discriminatory way. You cannot, for example, just give to someone who a co-worker knows needs money for educational expenses and deduct it from your taxes.
To best cover yourself you will probably need to have developed a grant application for the person to fill out.
You might consider just using your gift tax exemption to give to specific people as that would be a lot easier. Make sure you talk to an estate planning attorney first because large gifts should only be made with your estate plan in mind.
Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (Oct. 5, 2016) "Charitable Giving to Individuals."