Better Business Bureau is introducing a new online guide to more than 200 BBB Accredited Charities in eastern Missouri and Southern Illinois.
The guide provides donors and businesses with location and contact information as well as each charity’s mission statement and links to charities’ websites. BBB officials say the guide can help companies and prospective donors find charities that operate with transparency and accountability to the donating public.
Charities listed in the guide have all met BBB’s 20 Standards of Charity Accountability. BBB staff have examined each nonprofit’s financial statements, fund-raising materials and annual reports. BBB also asks charities to answer a questionnaire. Charities may ask to be evaluated, free of charge.
“Donors want to know that their money is being spent wisely,” said Michelle L. Corey, BBB President and CEO. “If they see a BBB Accredited Charity seal on a charity’s website or find them in the new guide, they can be assured that the charity complies with the BBB’s 20 Standards of Charity Accountability.”
BBB has tips to increase donors’ confidence that their donations 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 give 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 does 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. The IRS website (www.irs.gov) has information on the deductibility of donations on tax returns.
Consumers can learn how to protect themselves or find BBB Business Reviews and BBB Charity Reviews by calling (314) 645-3300 or by going online to www.bbb.org.