Today is Giving Tuesday, “a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season” that was started by several major charities. BBB Wise Giving Alliance enthusiastically supports Giving Tuesday, with the caveat that donors and volunteers make sure the charities they support are well-managed and make good use of their donations.
Before you donate, consider the following:
Consider more than finances. How much money a charity spends on the actual cause – as compared to how much goes toward fundraising and administration – is an important factor, but it’s not the whole story. A charity with impressive financial ratios could have other significant problems such as insufficient transparency, inadequate board activity and inaccurate appeals.
Research before you give. Even good friends may not have fully researched the charities they endorse, so don’t just take their word for it. Expertise is available. Go to give.org to see if a national charity meets the BBB’s 20 Standards for Charity Accountability. Visit bbb.org for information on local charities.
Be wary of high-pressure, emotional pitches. Giving on the spot is never necessary, no matter how hard a telemarketer or door-to-door solicitor pushes it. The charity that needs your money today will welcome it just as much tomorrow.
Verify donated items are needed. Worn out, unusable or unwanted donated goods cost charities millions of dollars each year because the organization has to bear the cost of tossing the unacceptable donation. If you have questions about an item’s acceptability, call the charity and ask.
Confirm the charity’s identity. With so many charities in existence, their names can blur in a donor’s mind and similar-sounding organizations are common. Be sure you know which charity you’re supporting and that it’s not a case of mistaken identity.
Photo courtesy of #GivingTuesday.