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BBB offers tips for holiday giving

12/6/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

GREATER AKRON — The BBB Wise Giving Alliance reminds donors and volunteers this holiday season to make sure the charities they support are well-managed and make good use of their donations.

“Donors should do their homework and review charities online at akron.bbb.org/charity when they decide to support a local or national charity,” said Christy Page, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Ashland, Medina, Portage, Richland, Summit and Wayne Counties. “The review will help donors understand the charity’s mission, their programs and how they spend their funds.”

The BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers these tips to those who want to make donations:

• Consider more than finances. 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.

• Research before you give. Even good friends may not have fully researched the charities they endorse, so don’t just take their word for it. Go to the website to see if a local charity meets the BBB’s 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.

• Be wary of high-pressure, emotional pitches. Giving on the spot is never necessary, and the charity that needs your money today will welcome it just as much tomorrow.

• Verify donated items are needed. Worn out, unusable or unwanted donated goods cost charities millions of dollars each year because the organization has to bear the cost of tossing out the unacceptable donations.

• Confirm the charity’s identity. With so many charities in existence, their names can blur in a donor’s mind, and similar-sounding organizations are common.

The BBB Wise Giving Alliance also has suggestions for businesses that engage in cause-related marketing promotions that announce a consumer purchase will help a charity. The business should be sure to have a written agreement with the charity that authorized this use, and disclose in promotions the actual or anticipated amount of the consumer purchase that will benefit the charity.

Visit www.akron.bbb.org for more holiday giving tips.

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