DAYTON, OHIO, December 9, 2010 - Every holiday, billions of dollars are donated to worthy causes and now, more than ever, charities need donors’ support to help those who are struggling. Your Better Business Bureau advises you on how to avoid five common mistakes to ensure your dollar stretches the farthest in these tough economic times.
“With so many people out of work and in need, it’s extremely important you maximize the impact your holiday donations have by avoiding common giving mistakes,” said John North, BBB president and CEO. “A smart donor takes a hard look at a charity’s programs, finances and governance before making a donation. While almost all charities have the best of intentions, not all organizations meet standards or are well-managed.”
Your BBB recommends you avoid these common mistakes when donating to a charity this holiday:
· Assuming only low overhead matters. How much money a charity spends on the actual cause—as compared to how much goes toward fundraising and administration—is an important factor, but it’s not the whole story. A charity with impressive financial ratios could have other significant problems, such as insufficient transparency, inadequate board activity and inaccurate appeals.
· Failing to do your research before giving. Even good friends may not have fully researched charities they endorse, so don’t just take their word for it. Visit www.bbb.org to verify charities meet your BBB’s 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.
· Succumbing to high-pressure, emotional pitches. Giving on the spot is never necessary, no matter how hard a telemarketer or door-to-door solicitor pushes. A charity needing your money today will welcome it just as much tomorrow.
· Assuming the charity wants any item you donate. Worn out, unusable or unwanted donated goods cost charities millions of dollars each year because they have to bear the cost of tossing unacceptable donations. If you have questions about an item’s acceptability, call the charity and ask.
· Mistaking a charity’s identity. With so many charities in existence, their names can blur in your mind and similar-sounding organizations are common. Be sure you know which charity you’re supporting and it’s not a case of mistaken identity.
You can get a list of BBB Accredited Charities by visiting www.bbb.org or calling (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301. Also, look for the BBB Charity Seal on solicitations and Web sites, indicating nonprofits meet your BBB’s 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.
About Your BBB Serving Dayton and the Miami Valley
Your BBB is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses earning BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. Your BBB provides objective advice, free business BBB Reliability ReportsTM and charity BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, your BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is difference in viewpoints. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, 126 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring nearly 4 million local and national businesses and charities. Your BBB serving Dayton and the Miami Valley serves Montgomery, Greene, Clark, Darke, Miami, Preble, Shelby and northern Warren counties. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information about your BBB.