Ways to Support Charities

As a donor, you likely receive regular and frequent requests from charities asking for your support. As the philanthropic world evolves, there will always be new ways for you to support them. Here are a few ways in which you can contribute to your favorite charities.

Direct Mail

Still the most common way that charities interact with donors, it is likely everyone has received a mail solicitation from a charity at some point in their life. This type of fundraising is commonly used because it is still effective. It allows the charity to reach you directly with stories of those helped by their programs and make the case for you to give.

You can also look for the BBB Accredited Charity Seal logo on the mail appeals of participating Accredited Charities. It’s a quick way to know that the charity meets our [20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.]

As most donors know, giving to one charity by mail can lead to many more solicitations. Some charities rent or exchange mailing lists from various sources to expand their reach. In order to prevent your information from being shared, look for a check-off box on the return slip in the appeal that asks for them not to do so. Also, take a look at [our tips for getting off of a mailing list].

Telemarketing

Most of us have had a meal interrupted by a telemarketer, and chances are some of those calls have come from a charity seeking a donation. Similar to direct mail, telemarketing is a way for charities to reach you and make their case for why you
should donate. You should never feel pressured to give immediately on the phone. If you are interested in making a donation, we suggest you visit their website to find out about their programs and finances and check out sources such as BBB’s Give.org to help identify trustworthy charities so you can make an informed giving decision. [See the rest of our tips for responding to telemarketers.]

Online Giving

Making a donation to a charity through their website or another online portal is quick and easy. Oftentimes, charities will have a lot of information about their programs as well as their financial health on their website. Also, look for the BBB Accredited Charity Seal on the charity’s website to know right away that they are an Accredited Charity.

When engaging with any website, we recommend making sure that the information you submit is encrypted and kept secure. Look for a link to the site’s privacy policy, which is usually located in the footer of the page, to verify that they have procedures in place to protect your information. For donation platforms, don’t assume that the site has vetted the listed charities. Also review the site’s policies about such things as transaction fees charged to the charity and when donations are forwarded to the subject organization.

Text to Give

Some charities, particularly in response to disasters, have made it possible to give through text message. They will usually advertise texting a code or phrase to a specific number, which will trigger a donation of a certain amount. These donations are then added to your phone bill Since these types of donations have become more popular in response to disasters, we recommend [our tips on giving to disaster relief.]

Donating Items

Whether donating food to a local pantry or finding a convenient place to dispose used clothing, furniture or other goods, many donors are interested in making donations of non-cash items to charity. This can take the form of a local charity thrift store, or even a bin located in a parking lot. Potential donors should check out the charity before making such contributions. When giving in response to an emergency, keep in mind that many charities would prefer donations of money rather than goods, because they are often able to obtain food and water at a highly discounted rate, which would be more efficient than the cost you pay at the grocery store. [See the rest of our tips on donating items.]

Car Donations

Donating your used car boat, or other property) to charity is often advertised as a convenient way to get rid of these items while also making a tax-deductible contribution. Some donors have the impression that the charity itself will use the car, however, keep in mind that most charities will use a third-party company to auction off the vehicle . Your tax-deductible amount is based on this auction price which can be significantly lower than the value in a used car pricing guide It is also important to remember when donating a car to transfer the title over to the charity before the car is donated. You don’t want to be responsible for any parking tickets or accidents incurred before the care is re-sold. [Read the rest of our tips for donating a car.]

Planned Giving

Making a commitment to give to a charity in the future, generally through setting up an annuity or a bequest (adding the charity to your will), is a way to support your favorite charity in a lasting way. Most charities have information on what types of planned giving they accept and how you can begin the process. If you are interested in this type of giving, [review our tips on the subject.]

Volunteering

Some donors may choose to also give their time to their favorite cause. Whether it involves building a house, fostering animals, or just office work, many charities rely on their volunteers to carry out their mission Volunteering can be a rewarding way to get directly involved with the work of the charity. Check a charity’s website to see what types of volunteer opportunities they have, and check them out here on give.org to verify whether they are a BBB Accredited Charity.

Crypto Donations

Some charities have begun to embrace receiving donations of cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or Ethereum. The additional benefit of this type of donation is the security of information and the permanent record of your donation, which is made using blockchain technology. For those that own some cryptocurrency and are interested in giving, we have created an online platform for donating to BBB Accredited charities that accept it, GiveSafely.io