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Tips for Giving Back During the Holiday Season

By BCRF | November 29, 2016

The President and CEO of BCRF Shares 4 Tips for #GivingTuesday

Rounding out three days of shopping, including Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, is #GivingTuesday—a yearly campaign focused on giving back. Over 40,000 organizations in 71 countries join the #GivingTuesday movement. Participating organizations range from small businesses and nonprofits to government agencies and major corporations.

#GivingTuesday—a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration – truly kicks off the charitable season.

While many will continuously give back throughout the year, the holidays and the end-of-year timing motivates many to give back more and support different causes, charities, and nonprofits. For the past four years, the #GivingTuesday campaign has been connecting people around the world to celebrate and inspire the giving movement. The power and influence of social media combined with the generosity of people has resulted in a real change in communities worldwide.

The collective impact of #GivingTuesday has been astounding, raising approximately $116.7 million in 2015 for causes around the world. The exponential growth of the campaign is a testament to the giving spirit of Americans—named the most generous people in the developed world and second most generous following Myanmar globally in a report released by the Charities Aid Foundation.

Unfortunately, most donors spend little time doing their homework and they’re unaware of how their hard-earned dollars are actually being spent.

So, this year, know where your donations are going for #GivingTuesday. It’s important to spread and encourage the support, so when you give back, make sure you’re doing your homework and find out where your donations are ultimately going!

Here are a few tips to consider when looking for a charity to support.

4 Tips to Remember Before Donating

  1. Check Credibility: Visiting the non-profit watchdogs Charity Watch or Charity Navigator to find causes by sector and ratings for efficiency and transparency. For example, BCRF has an A+ rating from Charity Watch.
  2. Look for Efficiency Stamps: Keep an eye out for efficiency stamps when visiting the website of your chosen cause. If you don’t see them, visit one of the watchdog sites to see how they rate.
  3. Understand Expenses: Look for percentages or charts explaining the ratio between program and administration expenses.
  4. Check the Reports: If you want to dig even deeper, review the financial reports of your chosen nonprofit. All nonprofits are required to publicly disclose financial information on their website.

Charity Evaluators

Third-party, independent charity evaluators provide a meaningful service to donors. They typically have a set of standards used to categorize charities. Two of the most commonly used evaluators are Charity Watch and Charity Navigator.

Charity Navigator, founded in 2001, uses a four-star rating system that indicates how well the charity scores on a number of levels including: the financial health of an organization, it’s accountability and transparency practices, and results reporting to analyze whether it’s delivering on its mission.

Another evaluator, Charity Watch, rates charities with a letter grade by having “analysts perform in-depth evaluations of complex charity financial reporting, including audited financial statements, tax forms, annual reports, state filings, and other documents.”

Tips for Shopping Pink

It’s also important to be a smart shopper this holiday season. When it comes to products that feature a pink ribbon and claim to support breast cancer causes, there are a number of things to look out for:

1. Look for Clear Labelling: The donation amount should be clearly communicated using terms such as “purchase price” or “sale” instead of ambiguous terms like “proceeds.” Ultimately, you should be able to calculate exactly how much is being donated.
2. Know the Name of the Charity: It’s important to know where the donation will ultimately go. Knowing the name of the charity allows you to find how the charity rates and whether the funds will be well spent. For example, pink products that support BCRF assure shoppers that a percentage of every dollar goes directly towards its mission.

Shopping for loved ones or for yourself can be a powerful exercise in philanthropy. At BCRF, our corporate partners support 90 research grants with more than $28 million raised last year—a testament to how important it is to seek products that make an impact. Now you have the tools to discern pink products that make a difference, empowering you to make the smartest purchasing decisions.

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