Today, December 2, 2014, is Giving Tuesday in the USA. People are encouraged to support their favorite charities with cash or in-kind donations. It’s the kickoff of the holiday giving season and many of us are seeing a spike in the number of charity appeals in our mail boxes. BBB® has partnered with this movement and encourages individuals to give to trustworthy charities.
Three years ago, the 92nd Street Y in NYC organized a movement to create a national day of giving on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. The goal is to get families, communities and businesses to come together to give more, and then tell people about it to encourage others. In just a few short years, Giving Tuesday has grown to include more than 15,000 partners who will be involved in promotional activities. Fortunately most charities are striving to achieve good results for society and are operating ethically. But How do you know which ones are most deserving of your donations? Most people know the BBB helps identify trustworthy businesses, but not as many know that we help you to identify trustworthy charities using 20 evaluation standards…
Most charities actually spend reasonable sums on overhead, but if you go by that alone, you will believe that all charities are operating ethically. About one in three evaluated charities fail to meet one or more of the remaining 19 BBB standards, having nothing to do with the amounts spent on overhead. Look at all aspects of a charity, not just its overhead ratio.
Other factors BBB considers in our evaluations include looking at whether charities have solid oversight of their volunteers, whether the charity is assessing its effectiveness, whether it is truthful in its fundraising appeals, and whether it is addressing donor privacy concerns. Where can you find reports on charities we evaluate?
So what can donors do to be sure we are giving wisely?
- Get the charity’s exact name. With so many charities in existence, mistaken identity is a common problem. Many charities have “cancer” or “veterans” in their name, but no connection with one another.
- Resist pressure to give on the spot, whether from a telemarketer, a door-to-door solicitor or a friend’s post on Facebook
- 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.
- See if a BBB Charity report is available at Give.org.
For more information you can trust, visit bbb.org/evansville.