BBB Advises Consumers to Give Wisely to Charities this Holiday Season

December 10, 2013

Theholiday season gets many consumers in the giving spirit, and BBB is advisingconsumers looking to donate to a charity to give wisely. It’s the time of yearmany charities step up their fundraising efforts and reach out for donations. Manyconsumers donate this time of year for tax purposes or as a means of givingback to the community or other less fortunate. BBB Wise Giving Alliance offersa few DOs and DON’Ts when it comes to charity giving, both at holiday time andyear-round.

DON’Tsuccumb to high-pressure, emotional pitches. Giving on the spot is nevernecessary, no matter how hard a telemarketer or door-to-door solicitor pushesit. The charity that needs your money today will welcome it just as muchtomorrow…after you’ve had time to do your homework.

DOcheck out the charity carefully. Make sure you feel comfortable with howyour money will be spent. Don’t just take the word of someone else; even goodfriends may not have fully researched the charities they endorse.

DON’Tassumethat only “low overhead” matters. How much money a charity spends on theactual cause – as compared to how much goes toward fundraising andadministration – is an important factor, but it’s not the whole story. Acharity with impressive financial ratios could have other significant problemssuch as insufficient transparency, inadequate board activity and inaccurateappeals.

DO besure it’s the right charity. With so many charities in existence, theirnames can blur in a donor’s mind and similar-sounding organizations are common.Many phony charities purposefully choose a name that sounds familiar. Be sureyou know which charity you’re supporting and that it’s not a case of mistakenidentity.

DON’Tassumethat the charity wants any item you donate. Worn out, unusable orunwanted donated goods cost charities millions of dollars each year because theorganization has to bear the cost of tossing the unacceptable donation. If youhave questions about an item’s acceptability, call the charity and ask.

Donors cancheck out BBB Wise Giving Alliance evaluations on nationally solicitingcharities for free at