Because of technology and the creativity of charities, there are many different ways that you can give to a worthy cause. Whether giving money, canned goods, used items or time, BBB Wise Giving Alliance reminds donors that how you give is just as important as what you give.
According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, charitable donations to the largest charities were down 11 percent last year. Despite the tough economy and the overall decline in giving, donors are still looking for ways to help the less fortunate. According to the Salvation Army, red kettle donations in November and December 2009 increased by $9 million over the previous year.
Before giving, it's important to research the charity thoroughly to make sure that your dollar stretches the farthest it can in this economy. Here are five common ways to give and a few things to consider:
Give items - Many organizations solicit for donations including coats, toys and canned goods. Whatever you're donating, make sure the items are of good condition and that the recipient charity is accepting such items to help further its cause.
Give when you shop - Many charities have had great success partnering with businesses who agree to donate a portion of the purchase price from sales of items to a worthy cause. This type of cause-related marketing means that you can help while you shop.
Check if the promotion identifies the actual or anticipated amount of the purchase price the charity will receive. Some businesses, like grocery stores, ask if you want to donate to a charity and have that amount added to your receipt which is called embedded giving. See if the embedded promotion states which specific charity will receive the collected funds.
Give your time - In today's tight economy, you may not have money, but you can always give some of your time to help support a worthy cause. In addition to volunteer service, you can also be a vocal supporter of a charity and help raise awareness among friends and family and on social networking Web sites.
BBB Wise Giving Alliance reports on more than 1,200 national charitable organizations at www.bbb.org/charity and determines if they meet 20 accountability standards addressing governance, finances and fund raising practices.
For more information on charities and donors visit your BBB. To review charity evaluations and get more advice on how to give when times are tight, visit www.bbb.org/charity.