Today’s NCPW tip addresses giving wisely –
To assist donors in making sound giving decisions and to foster public confidence in charitable organizations, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance Standards for Charity Accountability were developed. These standards seek to encourage fair and honest solicitation practices, to promote ethical conduct by charitable organizations and to advance support of philanthropy.
Before you donate, heed these tips from BBB:
- Research the organization. Check with your BBB at http://www.give.org to get reports on how national charities measure up to BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. Confirm the organization is registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) and verify the programs and distribution of money is where you want it to be. According to BBB’s Standards for Charity Accountability:
- At least 65 percent of total expenses should be spent on program activities
- No more than 35 percent of related contributions can be spent on fundraising
- For local charities, ask for an annual report or a 990 IRS form to see a breakdown of where the money is allocated.
- Do not give cash. Always make contributions by check and make your check payable to the charity, not to the individual collecting the donation.
- Keep records of your donations. You have to keep record of all donations so you can document your charitable giving at tax time. Although your time as a volunteer is not deductible, out-of-pocket expenses directly related to your volunteer service to a charity may be deductible.
- Be wary of imitations. Don’t be fooled by names that look impressive or that closely resemble the name of a well-known organization.
- Confirm text code numbers. If you plan to donate by text message, confirm the text code number directly with the charity. Also, keep in mind that text message donations are typically not immediate. Depending on your cell phone provider, the donation may not show up on your bill for 30 to 90 days.