May 2, 2018

Wise Giving Wednesday: Small Business Giving Basics

In honor of Small Business Week (April 29 – May 5) we thought it would be appropriate to provide some basic giving advice for small businesses. No matter how long a small business has existed or the number of employees, it will receive charitable requests for support. These appeals can span a variety of causes and groups: health-related charities, police and firefighter organizations, veterans organizations, disaster relief groups or some other type of community fundraising drive. Understandably, some small business do not have the resources or time to thoroughly check out such requests before responding to them. BBB’s Give.org as well as the Better Business Bureau serving that community, can provide assistance. In the meantime, we offer the following tips and advice for small businesses to consider in making wise giving decisions: 

  • State registration requirements for charities. About 40 states require charities to be registered as a soliciting charity and file paperwork before they can solicit. Visit the website of the state office of the attorney general or the secretary of state to locate the applicable state government agency. Keep in mind that registration does not mean the state has approved or endorsed the charity. 
  • Be wary of excessive pressure. What’s true for individuals is also true for businesses: do not succumb to pressure to make an immediate gift. A charity that needs your money today will welcome it tomorrow. 
  • Benefit dinners and performance tickets.  If offered to buy tickets to attend a fundraising dinner or benefit performance helping a specified charity, ask how much of the purchase will benefit the charity. Keep in mind that receiving something of value in conjunction with a donation could impact the amount that is deductible. 
  • Clothing bins and coin collection boxes.  A small business’ customers may assume that if a business permits a charity to place a coin collection box on its counter or a clothing bin receptacle in its parking lot, that it has been thoroughly checked out. Don’t disappoint them. Ask the requesting charity for information on its programs and finances. 
  • Cause-related marketing disclosures. If a small business decides to have a sales promotion that advertises a specified charity will benefit from each purchase of a designated item, make sure you have received written permission from the charity to use its name. Also consider including a disclosure that announces the actual or anticipated portion of the purchase price that will benefit the charity.  (See BBB Charity Standard 19 for more details.) 
  • See if the charity meets BBB Charity Standards.  Help verify the charity’s trustworthiness by visiting BBB’s Give.org or your local Better Business Bureau website to find out if  there is an evaluative report on the charity that shows they meet the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. 

The Better Business Bureau has launched a website for Small Business Week that includes other information for business owners and managers. Visit https://www.bbb.org/SmallBusiness to find out more. 


Video of the Week 

As part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide a video featuring Sebastian Africano, Executive Director of Trees, Water & People (a BBB Accredited Charity) a conservation organization that works with Native American and Central American communities to install solar air furnaces, plant trees for reforestation, provide green job training and promote healthy diets.  


Recent Reports 

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