Better Business Bureau advises consumers on charitable giving
AUSTIN, Texas – Sept. 11, 2013 – The 9/11 anniversary serves as a reminder to all Americans of the impact giving can make on a community struck by tragedy. Whether you’re donating your time or money, BBB Wise Giving Alliance (WGA) recommends that you do your research when finding an organization. BBB WGA produces reports on more than 1,200 nationally soliciting charitable organizations. Local Better Business Bureaus report on another 10,000 local and regional charities.
According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Texas ranked 13th nationally in charitable contributions for 2012. Donating your time to a charity is in many ways similar to making a cash donation. Much of the work that charities perform is made possible because of volunteers. According to the most recent numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 64.5 million people volunteered for an organization at least once between September 2011 and September 2012.
BBB Wise Giving Alliance recommends taking the following five steps to make sure your time and energy are put to great use as a volunteer:
- Identify your skills. Volunteering opportunities are available for any skill level. Consider what you’re good at and what services you’d be particularly well-equipped to provide. From stuffing envelopes to construction, you can find a good fit regardless of your education or talents.
- Consider your passions. Maximize your enthusiasm for volunteering by finding an issue that resonates with your own personal passions. By identifying your passions, you’re more likely to stay engaged with the charity and be a more effective volunteer.
- Determine your availability. Make a realistic estimate of how much time you’re willing to give. It’s better to volunteer the amount of time you can reasonably handle.
- Do your research. Just as you would before making a cash donation, research the charity fully before you volunteer to make sure the organization has a commitment to standards and accountability. You can view BBB WGA Standards for Charitable Accountability for free at www.bbb.org/charity.
- Commit to stick with it. If early attempts at volunteering weren’t a good fit, keep at it and look for new opportunities to give back. In a tough economy, charities need the support of volunteers more than ever.