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Better Business Bureau ®
Start With Trust®
In Central Virginia
Back To School Tips
August 20, 2012

Many businesses are approached during this time of year to purchase advertisements in local school calendars or athletic schedules. While these requests usually come directly from representatives of local school districts, they often come from companies producing calendars and schedules on behalf of a school system. For decades, businesses have supported local schools through these ads, and unscrupulous scam groups often take advantage of civic-minded companies. If approached about purchasing space in a local school’s calendar, athletic schedule, or any other publication, make sure you’re actually speaking with a representative of the school district or a company contracted with that district. Too many well-intentioned businesses lose advertising money each year – especially in the late summer and early fall – to these kinds of scams.

This is also the season when businesses are often approached for sponsorships of school or little league teams. While this is another way to show your involvement in the community, these sponsorships may not be tax-deductible. Some local sports groups are organized as 501(c)(3) entities, but many or not. If the sponsorship is intended as a charitable gift as well as public relations, make sure that donation is deductible. Our charity page, as well as the State Office of Consumer Affairs can help your business determine if the organization can accept tax-deductible gifts.

BBB would never discourage any business from supporting local schools or teams. These are areas where small businesses support their communities tremendously. However, make sure your advertising or charitable funds are going to support the group you intend. In the current climate where scam artists are looking for any opportunity to defraud well-meaning consumers and businesses, no cause or group is safe.