Contributing money is only one of the ways in which you and your business may be asked to assist charitable groups. Other common approaches include requests that you serve as sponsor or nominal head of a fund raising drive, give your time as a volunteer or neighborhood solicitor, or serve on the board of a charitable organization.
When you allow your name or your company's name to be used by an organization, it is assumed that you also are lending your active support to its activities and fundraising procedures. Your reputation is on the line. Therefore, it is doubly important that you secure detailed information on the program, its resources, and its fund raising methods before agreeing to provide such support. Check out the charity with your local charity registration office and with your Better Business Bureau.
Even if you are only a minor contributor, you may want to think twice before allowing a charitable group to use your company's name. Some organizations have been known to use the names of contributors to pressure others to contribute.
If you decide to agree to the use of your company's name, ask for a signed agreement clearly specifying when and where it may be used. The agreement should also confirm your right to review and approve advance copies of all print and audiovisual materials that contain references to your company.
Soliciting organizations should honor requests for confidentiality and should not publicize the identity of donors without prior written permission. Organizations that violate this trust should be brought to the attention of local Better Business Bureaus and the BBB Wise Giving Alliance.