For the last several years, charities around the world have been promoting “Giving Tuesday” on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. The idea of Giving Tuesday came as a way to encourage donors to give to charities as part of their holiday preparations. This year, Giving Tuesday falls on December 3rd.Better Business Bureau (BBB) encourages donors to give but give wisely. BBB has Charity Reviews on more than 1,300 nationally soliciting charities and over 10,000 locally soliciting charities using its 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.
“Donors want to know that their money is being spent wisely,” said Melanie Duquesnel, BBB President & CEO. “This time of year, so many fake charities and crowd funding sites pop up, preying on the giving nature of the season. That’s why it’s so important to do your research.”
Giving Tuesday is an idea that began in 2012 with the 92nd Street Y in New York. Since then, there are over 200 local Giving Tuesday movements happening in the United States and 60 country campaigns. In just seven years, the Giving Tuesday movement has raised more than $1 billion online in the US alone.
For many Americans, giving to charities is almost as important during the holidays as celebrating with family. As a result, mailboxes often are stuffed with charitable solicitations as well as catalogs and shopping circulars this time of year. Whether you celebrate or not, giving before Jan. 1 means your gifts will be deductible on your 2019 tax return.
When BBB evaluates a charity, it looks beyond finances and overhead, examining a charity’s governance, effectiveness and fundraising practices against BBB standards. Only after a charity meets all 20 BBB standards will BBB offer it BBB Accreditation and use of BBB’s seal.
BBB has tips that 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 given 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.
- 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 could do 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 BBB’s website (bbb.org). The IRS website (irs.gov) has information on the deductibility of donations on tax returns.
Consumers can learn how to protect themselves or find BBB Business Profiles and BBB Charity Reviews by calling 888-996-3887 or by going to bbb.org.
BBB is a nonprofit, business supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit bbb.org for more information.
About Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula
Better Business Bureau Serving Detroit & Eastern Michigan is a non-profit organization with the purpose of promoting trust in the marketplace by assisting in the protection of consumers and businesses from fraud and unethical business practices. In addition to its recognized dispute resolution services, BBB maintains business reviews on the customer service history of more than 85,000 local businesses and provides consumer education materials on numerous topics. BBB provides its services free to the public and its service territory stretches across Eastern Michigan from Ann Arbor through Metropolitan Detroit, Lansing, Flint, upward to Alpena, and covers the entire Upper Peninsula of the state.