For 31 years, The Charlotte Observer has worked with charities in our region to determine their needs and then published those for our readers during the holiday season. We received more than 200 submissions from agencies in 10 counties this year. You can search all the agencies and match what you have to give with the agency’s list. For example, if you have a television to donate, you can find a charity nearby that might need one.
To add your nonprofit to the Giving Guide, click here. We will update the database weekly through Dec. 25.
BBB tips for charitable donations
▪ Go to www.bbb.org/charity to check out Better Business Bureau’s charity data, including budget information and whether a charity meets BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance Standards for Charity Accountability.
▪ If you’re unfamiliar with an organization, do not donate without getting details about it first.
▪ Do not be fooled by low overhead claims. Some charities spend acceptable amounts on fundraising and administration, yet still fail to meet one or more of the BBB 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.
▪ Think before you give. Ask for the charity’s name, address and written information on the charity’s programs and finances.
▪ Watch out for cases of mistaken identity. Some charity names sound alike or look alike.
▪ Know how much of your purchase goes to the charity. Be wary of statements such as “all proceeds go to charity.” Look for a disclosure that states how much will go to the charity’s programs and services.
▪ Watch out for charity fraud. Legitimate charities willingly provide written information about their programs and finances. They never insist you provide your credit card number or bank account number.
▪ Give by check or credit card. Charitable contributions to tax-exempt organizations may be tax-deductible to you. When you give by check or credit card, you have proof of your donation when it’s time to do your taxes.
▪ Just say no. If you get a call from an organization asking for a contribution over the telephone by credit card or MoneyPak pre-paid debit card, say no and hang up. Once they have your credit card number, they could max out your credit limit within minutes. If you give by pre-paid debit card, the money is gone.
▪ Hit delete. If you get an email from an organization asking for a contribution with a link, do not click on it. Instead, delete the email immediately. If you click on the link, you could unknowingly download spyware to your computer and that could lead to identity theft.
Source: Better Business Bureau of Southern Piedmont