As the Thanksgiving and holiday seasons approach, we are all a bit more mindful of what we have to be thankful for and how we can share our blessings with others. It’s easy to get caught up in emotional appeals, especially those with pictures of the less fortunate, and if you add a sad, wistful tune in the background, well, it’s all over for most of us.
BBB® would like to remind you to make sure you are giving your monies wisely to those that need it the most. Research those organizations to which you are interested in donating and gather enough information so that you can make an informed decision.
Give locally. We have hundreds of great organizations in our Tri-State that could benefit from your contribution. Before sending money to charities based elsewhere, consider giving in your own town. You may even be able to visit some and see firsthand how funds are being spent. Some may also offer volunteer opportunities.
To thoroughly research a charity prior to giving, you can go to the BBB Wise Giving Alliance website, give.org. There you will find reports on whether or not the charity meets a set of standards as well as some great tips on donating.
The BBB Wise Giving Alliance suggests the following:
Basic Giving Tips
- Get the charity’s exact name. With so many charities in existence, mistaken identity is a common problem.Thousands of charities have “cancer” in their name, for example, but no connection with one another.
- Resist pressureto give on the spot, whether from a telemarketer or door-to-door solicitor.
- Be wary of heart-wrenching appeals. What matters is what the charity is doing to help.
- Press for specifics.If the charity says it’s helping the homeless, for example, ask how and where it’s working.
- Check websites for basics. A charity’s mission, program and finances should be available on its site. If not, check for a report at www.give.org.
- Check with state charity officials. In many states, charities are required to register, usually with the office of the attorney general, before soliciting. Click http://www.nasconet.org/documents/u-s-charity-offices/for the relevant office in your state.
- Don’t assume that every soliciting organization is tax exempt as a charity. You can readily check an organization’s tax status at www.irs.gov/app/eos.
For more information on this or other topics, contact us at 812-473-0202 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy Thanksgiving and give, but give wisely!
*This article was written for and appeared in the Evansville Courier & Press, Business Section, dated Sunday, November 23, 2014.