BBB shares tips to help donors give wisely on GivingTuesday

It may be hard to believe but GivingTuesday, the charity event which takes place on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving started ten years ago, in 2012. It evolved into a movement that has helped raise more than $1 billion for online charitable giving around the globe and is now promoted by an organization devoted to this cause.

To help donors in this spirit of generosity, which takes place on Nov. 29 this year, BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers the following advice.

● Check BBB’s Give.org before contributing. There will be many options and opportunities to donate on GivingTuesday, but our best suggestion is to find out more about a charity before you contribute. Charities can demonstrate they are trustworthy by agreeing to in-depth evaluations in relation to the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. Get free access to charity reports by visiting Give.org to find out if an organization is BBB Accredited (i.e., meets all 20 BBB Charity Standards.)

● Be cautious about name confusion. When charities seek support for the same cause, the names can sometimes appear similar. Before you give, be sure you have the exact name of the charity to avoid a case of mistaken identity.

● Understand registration requirements. In the U.S., about 40 states require charities to register with a government agency, usually a division of either the Attorney General’s office or Secretary of State’s office. Keep in mind that registration with a government agency does not mean the government approves, recommends or endorses the charity.

● Consider tax-exempt status. There are more than one million organizations that have applied for and received charitable tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. In part, this means these groups are eligible to receive gifts that are deductible as charitable donations and will file an annual financial form with the IRS.

It does not mean the IRS approves, recommends or endorses the charity. The following link — https://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/ — provides access to IRS information on charities.

● Watch out for overly emotional appeals. If an appeal brings tears to your eyes, make sure it is also clear about what the charity intends to do to address the issues. Visit the charity’s website for details about their program services.