Find more ways to be generous and give wisely in part four of BBB’s four-part safe holiday shopping series. Giving Tuesday is a global generosity movement recognized on the Tuesday following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, providing consumers an opportunity to contribute to a cause that holds personal significance after completing their holiday shopping. There are thousands of local, statewide, national and global nonprofit organizations and charities that focus their efforts on important issues and depend on the generosity of businesses and consumers to continue their mission. However, it is important for donors to carefully choose what organization receives their contribution to ensure the money is being used responsibly, as well as remain mindful of fraudulent charities and dishonest claims.
While the most common way to support the mission of a chosen charity is through a financial contribution, there are multiple ways to give during Giving Tuesday.
Give time. Giving your time through volunteering may be even more valuable than money. Check to see if there are volunteer opportunities near you or how you can support their efforts in places they are operating. Keep in mind that volunteering goes beyond being physically present, as many organizations also use volunteers to help with marketing, graphic design, logistics or other aspects of their operations.
Give money. Organize a fundraiser or individually contribute to a cause that is important to you. Encourage your friends and family to also contribute by sharing the fundraiser on your social media and be sure to include your thoughts about why it is important. BBB recommends checking Give.org so you can be confident the donation is going to a worthy organization that will use it responsibly.
Give awareness. Share information about the cause or issue on your social media accounts or talk about it with your friends and family. You may be surprised how few people know about the issue and what is being done to address it. The information you share may also encourage others to become involved or increase their understanding of what is happening.
Give goods. Take the time to go through your closet, storage unit or pantry and donate unwanted items to a local organization that will accept them. Many of these organizations offer free pickup for bulky items you are willing to donate or have local drop-off locations.
Give locally. Being generous does not just mean contributing to an established organization but can also be shown by your actions in your neighborhood. Spend a few hours cleaning up the trash at a local park or offer to mow the lawn for an elderly or handicapped neighbor. Look for opportunities to be of help in your community and remember, no act of kindness is too small.
It is also important to remain mindful of scammers that will take advantage of the generosity of donors through fraudulent charities. BBB provides the following tips to ensure donations are going to reputable organizations:
• Thoughtful Giving. Visit Give.org to verify that a charity meets the BBB Standards for Charitable Accountability. Take the time to determine how the organization plans to address either an immediate or long-term need. The first request for a donation may not be the best choice. Be proactive and find trusted charities.
• Financial Transparency. It is important for organizations to provide an accounting of how funds are spent. Transparent organizations will post this information on their websites so that anyone can find out without having to wait until the audited financial statements are available sometime in the future. Take the time to check if the charity provides this information and where most of its expenses go. Almost all charities have some overhead expenses, so be wary of any that claim ‘100% of donations’ go to the cause.
• Online caution. Never click on links to unfamiliar charity websites in text messages or emails. These may take you to a look-alike website where you will be asked to provide personal financial information or may download harmful malware onto your computer. Don’t assume that charity recommendations on social media have already been vetted.
For more information about how to identify fraudulent charities and to view your chosen charity’s profile, visit Give.org
ABOUT BBB: The Better Business Bureau has empowered people to find businesses, brands and charities they can trust for over 110 years. In 2021, people turned to BBB more than 200 million times for BBB Business Profiles on 6.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 25,000 charities, free at BBB.org. Local, independent BBBs can be found across the United States, Canada, and Mexico, including BBB serving the Heart of Texas, which was founded in 1950 and serves 105 counties across Texas.