Chicago, IL- December 17, 2013- Theholidays are a popular time for consumers to help others in need by donating toa charity. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers a freepublished listing of over 400 reports on charities in Chicago and Northern Illinois.
“Consumerscan maximize the impact of their holiday charity donation by avoiding manycommon giving mistakes,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of theBetter Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “Before making adonation, smart donors take a careful look at the charity’s finances, programsand governance and how they operate.”
TheBBB’s Charitable Review Program is designed to empower donors to make wisegiving decisions and encourage local charitable organizations to accept theresponsibility of self regulation by adhering to a set of 20 charity standards.They promote public accountability, responsible use of funds, propersolicitation and governance practices.
The BBB recommends that consumers follow these tips when donating to acharity this holiday season:
· Do not be influenced byhigh-pressure or emotional appeals. Giving on thespot is never necessary, no matter how hard a telemarketer or door-to-doorsolicitor pushes it. The charity that needs your money today will welcome itjust as much tomorrow.
· Make sure you know thecharity’s correct identity. With so many charities inexistence, their names can blur in a donor’s mind and similar-soundingorganizations are common. Be sure you know which charity you’re supporting andthat it’s not a case of mistaken identity.
· Do not assume charitiescan use donated household items and clothing. Worn out, unusable or unwanted donated goods cost charities millionsof dollars each year because the organization has to bear the cost ofdiscarding the unacceptable donation. If you have questions about an item’sacceptability, call the charity and ask.
· “Low overhead” expensesshould not be the only factor you consider. Howmuch money a charity spends on the actual cause—as compared to how much goestoward fundraising and administration—is an important factor, but it’s not thewhole story. A charity with impressive financial ratios could have othersignificant problems such as insufficient transparency, inadequate boardactivity and inaccurate appeals.
· Do not give cash. If you contribute, write out a check to the charity, not to anindividual or third party that might be collecting the donation.
Formore consumer tips, visit www.bbb.org
Asa private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureauis to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaintsby means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also reviewadvertising claims, online business practices and charitable organizations.BBBs develop and issue reviews on businesses and nonprofit organizationsand encourage people to check out a company or charity before making a purchaseor donation.