By Robb Hicken, Better Business Bureau
Olivia Waters of Idaho Falls is a giving person by nature. She’s donates to her local church, offers service at the community senior center, and helps a neighbor who had cancer.
When the call came from the Breast Cancer Financial Assistance Fund she was hesitant to donate.
“I made up my mind a long time ago, not to give over the phone or off my porch,” she said.
The BCFA caller, a Salt Lake City-based company, said they were raising money for breast cancer research and patient assistance. It pulled at her conscience, and she called BBB.
With the holidays around the corner, charitable giving takes many forms. There are many ways donors can give to a worthy cause, whether it is giving money, canned goods, used items or your time. The BBB Wise Giving Alliance wants to remind donors that how you give is just as important as what you give.
Here are five ways you can “give” this holiday season:
Give items – Many organizations ask for specific items during the holidays, including coats, toys, and canned goods. Make sure the items are in good condition before donating.
Give when you shop – Many charities have had great success partnering with businesses that agree to donate an amount of the purchase price of certain items. Check to see if the promotion identifies the actual or anticipated amount of the purchase price the charity will receive. Some businesses, like grocery stores, ask if you want to donate to a charity and have that amount added to your receipt, which is called embedded giving. See if the embedded promotion states which specific charity will receive the collected funds.
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 added to your cell phone bill. While donating via text is fast and easy for the donor, the donation can take months to reach the charity, so consider donating directly to a charity through its web site if there is an urgent need.
Give your time – In today’s tight economy, if you do not have the budget to donate money, give your time. In addition to volunteering, 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.
The BBB Wise Giving Alliance reports on more than 1,200 national charitable organizations at www.bbb.org/charity and determines if they meet 20 accountability standards addressing
governance, finances and fund raising practices.