Charities are seeking contributions more than ever now due to ever-rising costs and demand for services. With the majority of the money raised by charities in this country coming from individuals, BBB offers advice to help donors make wise giving decisions.
“It is vital for donors to learn what individual charities are doing and the time frame of their work,” said Toby Barfield, president and CEO of BBB serving Eastern North Carolina. “Donors should know what to expect from the charities they support before writing checks or making commitments.”
BBB offers the following tips to help consumers decide where to direct donations:
Take time to check out the charity. The best way to avoid being disappointed is to find out more about the charity before making the donation. Donors should review the charity’s Web site and visit bbb.org to check out the charity with the BBB Wise Giving Alliance.
Be wary of claims that 100 percent of donations will assist relief victims. Despite what an organization might claim, charities have fund raising and administrative costs. Even a credit card donation will involve a processing fee. If a charity claims that 100 percent of collected funds will be assisting victims, the truth is that the organization is still probably incurring fund raising and administrative expenses.
Verify if the charity is registered to solicit donations. North Carolina requires charities to register with the Secretary of State’s office in order to solicit charitable contributions. The exception to this requirement is the American Red Cross, which was chartered by the U.S. Congress to provide its services and, thus, requires no state registration.
Be cautious if an on-the-spot donation is requested. A legitimate charity will welcome your donation as much tomorrow as they will today.
Beware of emotional appeals. Be cautious of vague appeals that offer gifts or base their appeal on a heart-breaking story, but are short on facts describing the charity’s services.
For more information, visit bbb.org.