During the holiday season, as donors seek to assist those in need, some will be drawn to the requests for help appearing on Crowdfunding websites. Donors should keep in mind, however, that not all crowdfunding sites operate in the same way. Below are some tips excerpted from the crowdfunding cover story that appeared in a previous edition of the Wise Giving Guide magazine:
Charities can be checked Crowdfunding websites run by charitable organizations can provide opportunities to learn more about the organization’s programs, finances and whether they are registered to solicit with state government agencies. In addition, third-party sources such as reports on Give.org can help donors verify that the charities meet recognized standards.
Be especially careful after a disaster or tragedy Watch out for those seeking to take advantage of high public sympathy immediately after a disaster or tragedy by setting up a crowdfunding project that may have no official connection to any charitable organization and may be using names and photos of victims without the families’ permission.
Specialized crowdfunding sites may be more adept If a crowdfunding sites specializes in a particular kind of activity such as medical funding, school projects (DonorsChoose.org) or overseas development (GlobalGiving.org), there is a greater chance they will have the experience and skills to engage in more oversight over the featured projects.
Read the fine print Crowdfunding sites vary in terms of whether the donors or the project organizer will be charged for site administrative costs and credit card fees. If a project does not achieve its targeted fundraising goal, sites also vary as to whether the donation will be refunded.
On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Besa Pinchotti, Communications Director of the National Military Family Association (a BBB Accredited Charity). The NMFA is an organization that works to strengthen and protect Uniformed Services families through its advocacy activities and programs that include spouse scholarships, camps for military kids, and retreats for families reconnecting after deployment and the families of the wounded, ill and injured.
We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:
Finally, remember to let us know by going to https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/ if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.
H. Art Taylor, President & CEO
BBB Wise Giving Alliance