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Giving Tuesday: Do You Know Where Your Donation is Going?

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Tuesday, December 3, 2019   

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinoisans are encouraged to be generous yet wise this Giving Tuesday. While charities use the annual observance to seek support from donors, consumer advocates warn that scammers also may be trying to compete for contributions.

According to the Better Business Bureau, about 65% of Americans don't research where their money is going prior to donating to charity. Bennett Weiner with the BBB Wise Giving Alliance recommends doing some homework to ensure a charity is legitimate and to determine how much of the donation will go specifically to the cause.

"In terms of our voluntary standards, a couple of them do specifically recommend certain expenditure levels,” Weiner explained. “We hope that as a percentage of total expenses that charity program service expenses will be at least 65% of total expenses of the organization."

Charities can be verified online through the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, CharityNavigator.org and IRS Tax Exempt Organization Search.

Only 19% of people in a new survey by the BBB's Give.org said they highly trust charities - something 70% said is essential before giving. Weiner added there also was a significant drop in trust for two specific types of charities.

"Civil-rights and community-action organizations had a lower degree of trust than in the previous year, as well as religious organizations also dropped,” he said. “Most of the other categories were either the same or a little bit higher than the previous year."

Weiner said hopefully organizations will take note and use the information to strengthen their trustworthiness with the giving public.

"People respond very well to organizations that focus on their accomplishments,” he said. “And if charities included that type of information on their websites and in their appeals, there's a good chance that they may be able to generate increased trust from the donating public."

The survey found that overall optimism that a charity can be trusted rose 14% in 2018, compared with a 10% increase in 2017.


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