BBB’s guide to giving wisely this holiday season

December 12, 2012

  The holiday season inspires people to reach out and give to those less fortunate.Although charities accept donations year-round, close to 40 percent of a charity’s annual contributions are received in the last few weeks of the year. Before giving time, treasures or talent this holiday season, Better Business Bureau reminds consumers to give wisely.  


To assist donors in making sound giving decisions and to foster public confidence in charitable organizations, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance Standards for Charity Accountability were developed. These standards seek to encourage fair and honest solicitation practices, to promote ethical conduct by charitable organizations and to advance support of philanthropy.


Before you donate, heed these tips from BBB:

  • Do not give cash. Always make contributions by check and make your check payable to the charity, not to the individual collecting the donation.
  • Keep records of your donations. You have to keep record of all donations so you can document your charitable giving at tax time. Although your time as a volunteer is not deductible, out-of-pocket expenses directly related to your volunteer service to a charity may be deductible.
  • Be wary of imitations. Don't be fooled by names that look impressive or that closely resemble the name of a well-known organization.
  • Confirm text code numbers. If you plan to donate by text message, confirm the text code number directly with the charity. Also, keep in mind that text message donations are typically not immediate. Depending on your cell phone provider, the donation may not show up on your bill for 30 to 90 days.
  • Research the organization. Check with BBB at to get reports on how national charities measure up to BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. Confirm the organization is registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) and verify the programs and distribution of money is where you want it to be.

To check the reliability of a company and find trustworthy businesses, visit


About Better Business Bureau:
BBB's mission is to be theleader in advancing marketplace trust. BBB accomplishes this mission bycreating a community of trustworthy businesses, setting standards formarketplace trust, encouraging and supporting best practices, celebratingmarketplace role models and denouncing substandard marketplace behavior.


Businesses that earn BBBAccreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization's highstandards of ethical business behavior. BBB is the preeminent resource to turnto for objective, unbiased information on businesses and charities.