July , 2018

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Chicago, IL – With every holiday, millions of dollars and items are donated to worthy causes, and now more than ever charities need the support of donors. The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois (BBB) offers guidelines and common mistakes to avoid while making charitable donations this holiday season.


“With so many people out of work and in need, it’s extremely important to maximize the impact holiday donations have by avoiding common giving mistakes,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “Donors must take a look at a charity’s programs, finances and governance before making a donation. While many charities have the best intentions, not all organizations meet accepted charitable standards or are well managed.”


The BBB offers the following guidelines on ways to donate this holiday season:

  • Give items. Many organizations solicit for various kinds of donations over the holidays; including coats, toys, and canned goods. Whatever you’re donating, make sure the items are in good condition and that the recipient charity is accepting such items to help further its cause.
  • Give when you shop. Many charities have had great success partnering with businesses who agree to donate some amount of the purchase price from sales of items to a worthy cause. This type of cause-related marketing means you can help while you shop. Check if the promotion identifies the actual or anticipated amount of the purchase price the charity will receive.
  • Give online. Giving online with a credit or debit card is among the most efficient ways to support a charity. However, before you enter in your numbers, give the website a thorough review and look for the organization’s privacy policy, and verify if the organization has appropriate security measures in place to protect your transactions.
  • Give your time. In today’s tight economy, you may not have money, but you can always give a little bit of your time to help support a worthy cause.

The BBB also offers advice on avoiding common mistakes when donating, including:

  • Failing to do your research before you give. Even good friends may not have fully researched the charities they endorse, so don’t just take their word for it; expertise is available. Go to www.bbb.org/charity to verify that a charity meets the BBB’s 20 Standards for Charity Accountability
  • Succumbing to high-pressure, emotional pitches. Giving on the spot is never necessary, no matter how hard a telemarketer or door-to-door solicitor pushes it. The charity that needs your money today will welcome it just as much tomorrow.
  • Mistaking a charity’s identity. With so many charities in existence, their names can blur in a donor’s mind and similar-sounding organizations are common. Be sure you know which charity you’re supporting and that it’s not a case of mistaken identity. 
  • Assuming that the charity wants any item you donate. Worn out, unusable or unwanted donated goods cost charities millions of dollars each year because the organization has to bear the cost of tossing the unacceptable donation. If you have questions about an item’s acceptability, call the charity and ask.
  • Thinking only “low overhead” matters. How much money a charity spends on the actual cause-as compared to how much goes toward fundraising and administration-is an important factor.
  • Do not give cash. If you contribute, write out a check to the charity’s full official name, not to an individual or third party that might be collecting the donation.
  • Internet appeals require careful scrutiny. For those making donations to giving sites on the Internet, look for clear disclosures that explain how much of the gift goes to the charity, the privacy policy, and whether there is appropriate security on the site for credit card transactions
  • Keep records of your donations. Keep receipts, canceled checks, and bank statements that verify your contribution amounts. The IRS also requires donations to be substantiated through a written confirmation from the charity.
  • Check with outside sources. Check with your appropriate state government authorities to verify that the charity is registered to solicit in your state. Check http://www.bbb.org/us/Charity-Reviews/ for problems such as insufficient transparency, inadequate board activity and inaccurate appeals.

For more information on making wise charitable donations, visit www.bbb.org


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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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