BBB Says How You Give is Just as Important as What You Give this Holiday Season

December 15, 2011 Updated Dec 15, 2011 at 1:49 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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BBB Says How You Give is Just as Important as What You Give this Holiday Season

December 15, 2011 Updated Dec 15, 2011 at 1:49 PM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- Many charities are very creative when it come to fund raising and more and more of them are also using technology to help their worthy cause - leaving consumers with several different ways to offer their support to help them thrive in a competitive marketplace.

Whether you’re giving money, your time, used items or canned goods, BBB's Wise Giving Alliance reminds donors that how you give is just as important as what you give.

According to Charity Navigator, total giving to charitable organizations was $290.89 billion in 2010. This was an increase of 3.8% from 2009. Despite the tough economy, donors are still looking for ways to help the less fortunate, particularly around the holidays. As in previous years, the majority of that giving came from individuals.
 
“Despite the downturn in the economy, people are still looking for creative or small ways that they can give back and support those who are even less fortunate over the holidays,” said David Polino, Better Business Bureau President. “However you decide to give, it’s important to take the time needed to research the charity thoroughly and make sure that your dollar stretches the farthest it can in this tough economy.”
 
BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers the following five common ways that people donate to charities over the holidays, and a few things to consider:

Give while you shop.
  Many charities have great success partnering with businesses that agree to donate some amount of the purchase price from sales of items to a worthy cause. This type of cause-related marketing means that you can help while you shop. Check if the promotion identifies the actual or anticipated amount of the purchase price the charity will receive. If it’s too vague you might select another way to give.

Some businesses, like grocery stores, ask if you want to donate to a charity at check-out. The amount is usually added to your receipt (also called embedded giving). Find out if the embedded promotion states how much of your donation is given and which specific charity will receive the collected funds. Then make sure it’s the organization that you’re looking to support.

Give online.  Giving online with a credit card is among the most efficient ways to support a charity but before you enter in your numbers, give the website a thorough review. Look for security in their URL address and the “s” in their address. Read the organization’s privacy policy, and verify if the organization has appropriate security measures in place to protect such transactions. Plus, make sure your information is only for their purposes and not being given to third-parties.

Give through text messaging.
The option to give via text message took off in the wake of the disastrous earthquake in Haiti. After texting a message to a number, the donation is tacked on to your cell phone bill. Before you select this option – do your homework. Check out the charity first and make sure your text gift retains its value.
 
Consider that donating via text is fast and easy for the donor, but the actual money can take 60 – 90 days to reach the charity since the funds are forwarded after you pay the donation charge on your next monthly cell phone bill.  Of course, charities welcome donations at any time during the year.

Give from the heart. Many organizations solicit for donations over the holidays including gently used coats, unwrapped toys, and canned goods. Whatever you’re donating, make sure the items are of good condition and that the recipient charity is accepting such items to help further its cause.

Give your time.  In today’s tight economy, you may not have money, but you can always give a little bit of your time to help support a worthy cause. In addition to volunteering around the holidays, you can also be a vocal supporter of a charity and help raise awareness among friends and family and on your Facebook page or blog.