Tyler Better Business Bureau
The holiday giving season is in full swing and the current economy has not been kind to charities.
BBB offers these tips to giving to your favorite causes.
- GIVE WISELY: Make sure to check any charity you plan to donate to with BBB at www.bbb.org.
- SOUND-A-LIKE SCAMS: The holiday season is prime time for unethical individuals to take advantage of your giving spirit. Make sure you are donating to the right charity, not one you think sounds like a reputable charity.
- HIGH PRESSURE PITCHES: Don’t fall for them. A reputable charity will answer questions and inform you about their operations. They know an informed donor is a loyal donor.
- DONATING GOODS: If you donate goods, make sure they are in good condition. Giving a charity something they cannot use because it is in poor condition creates an undue burden on the charity you are trying to help.
- TEXT DONATIONS: This option took off after the earthquake in Haiti. After you text message a certain number, the donation is added to your cell phone bill. While this is fast and easy, the donation can take months to reach the charity.
- DO NOT GIVE CASH: Instead of cash, give in the form of a check or money order made out to the charity, never an individual.
- CAUSE MARKETING: You will see many products out there that claim some proceeds will go to a certain cause. Make sure there is a disclosure of the actual or anticipated amount of purchase that will go to charity.
- EMBEDDED GIVING: Many retail stores give you the option to donate to a charity by adding that amount to your receipt. Make sure you know exactly which charity will be benefitting from your donation.
- ONLINE DONATIONS: One-third of the entire years online donations are made during the holiday season. Make sure you are giving through a secure website with “https” in the browser.
- VOLUNTEER: If you don’t have the money to give to your favorite charity, consider donating your time. Few charities will turn down someone willing to volunteer.
- TELEMARKETING: When giving over the phone, make sure you are giving directly to the charity and not to a third party. In some cases a for-profit telemarketing company may be taking a sizable portion of the donation you make.
- ADVOCATE: Along with donating money and time, you can also help local charities by becoming a vocal advocate for its cause.
For more tips on how to be a savvy consumer, go to www. bbb.org. To report a fraud or scam, call the BBB Hotline at 903-581-8373.