ST. LOUIS, MO- Memorial Day will honor the men and women of our military who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the armed forces. Maybe you’ve been asked to donate to charities to help veterans.
While giving is noble, some of those behind the charities are not.
Chris Thetford with the Better Business Bureau joined us with some helpful tips.
Stories of disabled veterans needing assistance often inspire Americans to make donations to charities that promise to help needy veterans. Better Business Bureau (BBB) reminds donors to look beyond the poignant stories before making a donation.
In recent years, BBB has issued several warnings about charities that failed to live up to their promises of providing assistance to veterans in need. Some devoted more money to raising funds than to helping veterans. Some weren`t willing to reveal how their funds were spent or the amount of assistance they offered.
BBB Charity Reviews let donors know whether a charity has complied with BBB Standards for Charity Accountability, 20 standards designed to show that a charity is transparent about its operations and fundraising and that it follows good governance practices. Charities that meet all 20 standards may qualify as BBB Accredited Charities.
BBB has more than 11,000 Charity Reviews, covering local as well as national nonprofit organizations. A list of local veterans charities that are BBB Accredited is available at this link.
BBB offers the following tips to potential donors:
• Learn all you can about a charity before contributing. Ask for printed documentation on how much of your contribution will be used for program services and how much will go for fundraising and management expenses.
• Whenever possible, donate directly to a charity and not through a fundraising telemarketer or a direct mail solicitation. That helps insure that most of your contribution goes directly to the charity.
• Don’t succumb to pressure to give money on the spot. A charity that can use your money today will welcome it just as much tomorrow. Watch out for appeals that bring tears to your eyes, but tell you nothing about how your donation will be used.
• When considering support for a cause-related marketing campaign, find the answers to these questions: What portion of the purchase price will benefit the charity? What is the duration of the campaign? What is the maximum or minimum total contribution? If the information is not on the item, check the organization`s website.
• Check with the BBB for a BBB Charity Review. For a charity to receive BBB accreditation, it must meet 20 Standards of Accountability covering everything from governance to fundraising.
Before you do business with a charity or company, check its BBB Business Review at www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.