BBB Tip of the Week: Giving to Charity

WomanAtFoodBankMany people want to give back to the community, either by donating money, volunteering or even finding a spot on an organization’s board.

Better Business Bureau believes that charities should be open about their finances and their operations, and we have a BBB Accredited Charity program that evaluates charities against BBB’s 20 Standards of Charity Accountability.

Donors may find BBB Accredited Charities listed in BBB’s Guide To Accredited Charities. BBB staff have examined each nonprofit’s financial statements, fundraising materials and annual reports to determine whether they meet BBB standards. BBB also asks charities to answer a questionnaire. Charities may ask to be evaluated, free of charge.

BBB urges donors to check charities out before they give. BBB has tips that can increase your confidence that your donation will be used wisely:

  • If you are unfamiliar with an organization, don’t hesitate to ask the charity for written information about its programs and finances.
  • Don’t succumb to pressure to give money on the spot. A charity that can use your money today will welcome it just as much tomorrow. Watch out for appeals that bring tears to your eyes, but tell you nothing about how your donation will be used.
  • Before making online donations, determine whether the charity’s website is secure and that it has a privacy policy concerning the use of your name, email address or other personal facts. (Secure sites’ addresses begin with https://.)
  • When considering support for a cause-related marketing campaign, find the answers to these questions: What portion of the purchase price will benefit the charity? What is the duration of the campaign? What is the maximum or minimum total contribution? If the information is not on the item, check the organization’s website.
  • Before donating used items, make sure they are in good shape to reuse. Donating junk puts an undue burden on the charity and does more harm than good. You may want to consider selling the item and donating the proceeds to a charity.

BBB urges donors to seek professional advice if they are in doubt about the deductibility of contributions.  Other helpful tips for making donations are posted on the BBB website ( The IRS website ( has information on the deductibility of donations on tax returns.

Consumers can learn how to protect themselves or find BBB Business Reviews and BBB Charity Reviews by calling (314) 645-3300 or by going online to


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s