BBB offers some advice for business owners who are planning to give the gift of charity this holiday season.
By: Tracy Bracy
During this season of thankfulness and gifts, charitable giving can make a difference in your community and shed favorable light on your business. According to a 2013 report from Giving USA, charitable giving grew by about 3.5 percent last year, totaling $316.23 billion. This indicates that giving back is important not only to small business, but also to your customers.
Charitable giving is also great for employee morale because it brings employees together to support good causes that are separate from their everyday work life. From a marketing perspective, it can also give your business an opportunity to reach out and connect with members of your community on a different platform.
With all the charities out there, how do you determine which charity is the right fit for your business and your community? Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers an easy way to narrow down the list by offering free charity reports on hundreds of nonprofit organizations through BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance (WGA). WGA also commissioned significant independent research on donor expectations to ensure that the views of the general public were reflected in the standards. BBB’s WGA has standards that seek to encourage fair and honest solicitation practices, to promote ethical conduct by charitable organizations and to advance support of philanthropy.
Charitable 501(c)(3) organizations that meet all 20 standards for charity accountability become BBB accredited charities. BBB standards for charity accountability were developed to help donors make sound giving decisions and to foster public confidence in charitable organizations. On a local level, BBB serving Central, Coastal and Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin recently launched a new format for our charity reports. Some of the great features include:
• An easier-to-read, more attractive look, which shows whether a charity “meets standards” or not, or if a charity “did not disclose” information. Charities that meet standards are BBB accredited charities, and there will be a seal on their BBB charity report
• A summary of the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability each organization meets
• Tabs that contain details related to the charity’s purpose, programs, staff members and financial distributions
• A “full report” button for donors who would prefer to read the report without tabs
• A “share” button so you can connect the charity report you’re reviewing easily on social media
There are clear benefits in choosing to use time and resources to invest in a cause. As with all aspects of managing your business, it’s important to have a plan that is clearly tied to your goals. It’s a good idea to consider the following when looking to donate to an organization:
• Determine what causes you want to help. It’s important to find a trustworthy nonprofit organization that you can build a relationship with and that is working for a cause that matters to your company
• Involve employees. Ask employees what causes they are passionate about. You could even offer them a paid day of volunteer time with a partnering organization.
• Investigate the organization by visiting the charity at bbb.org. Find their BBB charity review, and find out more information about their background, finances and programs.
• Decide how you will help. There are many ways to contribute to a charity, beyond financial support. Figure out the ways your company can most benefit the organization you choose.
• Determine if your donation will qualify as tax deductible. Consult your accountant or tax advisor for information about what constitutes a charitable tax deduction and how to properly log your activity.
• Get your customers involved. You can run programs that allow your customers to support the organization, as well. Hold a food drive, offer a special discount if customers support your charity or ask customers to round up and donate their change.
• Market and promote your partnership. Once you’ve established a relationship with the charity you support, utilize that relationship to your advantage. Ask if they will use your logo on their website, and post on social media about being a sponsor or partner.
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau (BBB) has been helping consumers find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. For the latest news, visit our blog at www.watchyourbuck.com. And to learn more, contact Tracy Bracy, regional director for BBB, at 361-852-4949.
For more information, visit www.bbb.org or contact the BBB consumer help line at 361-852-4949.