BBB Charitable Giving Tips

October 16, 2012
Each fall as the Holiday Season approaches, appeals for charitable donations begin to come with increasing frequency. In addition to the giving spirit that surrounds both secular and religious holidays in November and December, donors often make donations before the end of the tax year. As solicitations begin to come through the mail, email, and over the phone, remember to be conscious of where your charitable dollars are going. The Wise Giving Alliance’s tips for Charitable Giving are an excellent source of information as you make your giving decisions this year. If tax deductions are part of your decisions when giving during the Holidays, be certain that an organization is eligible to receive tax-deductible gifts before you donate. Not all non-profit groups are organized as charities, and those donations are not usually deductible. Most reputable groups will prominently disclose their tax status, but others do not. If you are unsure about an organization's tax status, or would like more information about tax exemptions and deductions, contact a local IRS office. Our local charity reports, as well as the Wise Giving Alliance’s reports on national organizations, include valuable information on governance, fundraising, finances, and transparency. In the event that BBB doesn’t have a report on a given organization, let us know and we’ll reach out to them requesting information. The organization should also be willing to send you an annual report, IRS 990, and recent financial statements, or direct you to those documents on their website. Charities rely on the outpouring of generosity from individuals and businesses during the Holiday Season; less than scrupulous groups attempt to take advantage of that generous spirit every year. As you give back to the many worthy causes in our community this year, remember to use BBB’s Charity Information Services and to always research before giving to an unfamiliar organization.