Executive Director, Beverly Bootstraps
The season of giving is upon us. Likely, you are carefully making decisions about how your charitable dollars will be most useful. At Beverly Bootstraps, we are fortunate to have much community support and we have learned a lot about many ways of giving. Here are some tips from your local non-profit about charitable giving:
- Consider how your dollars can make the impact you feel is important. Should your dollars work to feed the hungry; support education; ensure the arts are accessible, or something else? Do you want to support a local, a national, or a world-wide effort?
- How trustworthy is the organization to which you are gifting your money? Does the charity hold a 501 (C) 3 or other charitable tax exempt status? Has the organization been audited by an independent auditor? Does the organization report on its activities and offer its financial documents for review by donors?
- How well does the organization meet its mission? Most organizations offer statistics about their work. Some offer impact metrics. Visit Giving Common and the organization’s web site to check out how well the organization does its work.
Once you have decided on a charity worthy of your support, you can give in many ways. While having many options of giving offers great flexibility for donors, it can be a tricky business for us to know about your gift. Here are some tips:
- The easiest way for your charity to receive your gift is if you give directly. If the charity offers online giving, that is an easy and secure way to give, but there are credit card fees incurred by you or the charity. A check to the charity still works very well. Cash is also very effective as long as the charity has a secure way to accept it.
- There are many third party giving options. Companies still run employee giving campaigns, many through third party companies. Check to see if there is a percent deducted for the administration of the gift and if so, consider giving directly. If your company offers a matching donation, it is an easy way to increase your giving to the charity. Some examples of online third party options are Pay Pal, Network for Good, Facebook campaigns, Great Non-Profits. If you give this way, please let the charity know. You can email their development, donor relations or philanthropy staff to let them know how much you contributed, when and through what giving vehicle. Do not forget your name and address and a telephone number in case the charity needs to clarify something. Unfortunately, these third parties do not pass along your information to the charity, or if they do, they delay notification for many weeks. The charity may never know that you have given a gift.
- You can donate gifts of stock. Check directly with the charity for directions. Again, notify your charity about your gift. Your information is not always available to the charity and we certainly want to thank you!
- Some charities accept in-kind gifts. Gifts of food and holiday gifts are common at this time of year. Check with the charity to be sure what you are giving is something they can distribute. Always be sure food is in date and in good condition. You can help the organization by knowing the value of your donation (i.e. holiday gifts, school supplies, diapers). Non-profit organizations must report on the monetary value of all the items donated to our organizations.
- Make sure you are bringing or sending the donation to the right place. We have two locations at Beverly Bootstraps (Thrift Shop and Services). We have had more than a few mix-ups due to a donation being left in the wrong place.
Finally, know that as non-profit charities, we work very hard to get a confirmation and thank you out to all of our many donors in a timely manner. If you are making a donation in honor or memory of someone and want us to notify someone else, please help us by providing all the information we need to contact the other person. And, if you are giving in honor of an occasion, make your gift well in advance to give us plenty of time to produce the notification letter.
Non-profit organizations are grateful and ready for your donations. Part of your generosity can be to make your gift in a way that minimizes staff time to accurately accept and log your gift, distribute it properly and thank you for helping to meet the mission.