Give Like A Billionaire

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Published on August 11, 2010 with No Comments

Forty billionaires have pledged to donate a substantial portion of their wealth to charity with the hope of inspiring others to donate to worthy causes, as well. While the dollar amount might be less, your Better Business Bureau of Northern Indiana (BBB) encourages everyone to give like a billionaire by researching any charity fully before making a donation.

“Every experienced philanthropist has a thorough process for vetting charities in order to determine which worthy causes will be able to stretch their dollar the farthest,” said Michael Coil, president and CEO of the BBB.  “Evaluating the effectiveness of a charity is more than just looking at the fundraising and administrative costs. Transparency, trustworthiness, and accountability are also important factors that everyone should consider before they give.”

Listed are recommendations following five steps to give like a billionaire:

With over 100,000 charities in the United States alone, it is wise to take the time to check out  the organization with the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and the local charity registration office (usually a division of the state attorney general’s office).   You can get a report on a charity by going to www.bbb.org.  Don’t be pressured to give before you do your research.

Consider more than just the charity’s finances.  Impressive financial ratios are not a guarantee that a charity is being run ethically and effectively.  Review the BBB’s Standards for Charity Accountability to identify fundamental features of an accountable organization.

Don’t be fooled by names that look impressive or that closely resemble the name of a well-known organization.  Sometimes name similarity is used as a ruse to confuse the potential donor.

Watch out for appeals that focus solely on a problem but don’t clearly explain what the charity intends to do about it.  The charity’s intended program activities should be spelled out clearly.

If you want to consider donating to a newly established charity, take the time to review the charity’s program plans, including its board-approved budget.  Make sure that it has the capacity to be able to follow through on its intended objectives.
“There are many trustworthy charities out there,” said Coil.  “BBB wants to help donors find information that can give them informed answers to their questions.  It’s good for the charities and good for the donors.”

About the BBB Wise Giving Alliance
The BBB Wise Giving Alliance produces reports on over 1,200 nationally soliciting charitable organizations. The BBB Wise Giving Alliance does not rank charities, but, rather, seeks to assist donors in making informed judgments by providing objective evaluations of national charities based on 20 strict standards. The outcomes of the evaluations -are available online at www.bbb.org/charity. The BBB Wise Giving Alliance is an affiliate of the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

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