BOISE, Idaho — The season of giving is here so how can you make sure you're giving wisely? The Better Business Bureau has simple tips to make sure you're supporting your favorite charities without giving away too much of your information.
American charities receive one-third of their annual donations during the holiday season, especially on Giving Tuesday. The holiday marks the Tuesday after Cyber Monday and has helped generate over $1 billion for online charities worldwide. If you participate in Giving Tuesday on December 3, BBB's Wise Giving Alliance is urging you to research charities to ensure your generous contributions go to trustworthy organizations.
One red flag to watch for: name similarities. When charities seek support for the same cause, their names are often similar. Before you give, be sure you have the exact name of the charity to avoid a case of mistaken identity.
Review the website carefully. A responsible charity will include the following facts on its website: its mission and programs, measurable goals, and concrete criteria that describes its achievements. You should also be able to find information on their finances. Keep in mind: the type of work a charity does will affect its costs.
Avoid on-the-spot donation decisions from unfamiliar organizations. The holidays bring a higher frequency of donation requests outside public locations. Don't succumb to pressure to make an immediate giving decision. Responsible organizations will welcome your gift tomorrow just as much as they do today.
When it comes to donating to local charities, being able to physically go into their office can give you confidence about where your donation is actually going and how it's being used. It might also be best to contact or visit local organizations and ask them what their biggest need is. The Idaho Ronald McDonald House has a housewarming wish list online to prepare for their new Boise home and the Boise Rescue Mission has a list of their biggest needs online as well. More local charities can be found here.
For more resources on keeping your finances and identity safe, click here.