Wise Giving Wednesday: Back to School & Charities
It’s September, and the kids are back in school across the country. And many parents out there know that this also signifies not just the three r’s of Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic, but also the “fourth” R of raising funds. Yes, at many schools, families may be asked to help raise funds for school funding gaps, playground equipment or perhaps a special class project. This can range anywhere from bake sales to book sales. To help ensure success, parent groups would be wise to make sure they have specific plans and goals in place that include stock letters to be sent to parents to introduce the fundraiser, keeping tracks of volunteer leaders for the event, being transparent during the campaign in terms of how much of the collected funds will go to the designated activity and maintaining paper trails to ensure donations are recorded, tracked and thank you notices are sent to contributors.
Teachers seeking assistance for class projects might consider posting a request on DonorsChoose.org, a BBB Accredited Charity, that helps teachers across America post classroom project requests so individuals can provide funding.
School fundraisers are not the only philanthropy to consider during the school year. In many areas of the country, high school seniors will be required to complete a specified minimum number of hours of community service in order to graduate. To avoid the end of school year rush, the time to start identifying and making such volunteer arrangements for teens is now. Take the time to check out the charity before a teenager starts volunteering his or her time. Make sure this is a cause and work environment that you are comfortable with before they start. Among other things, see if there is a BBB report on the group and find out if the charity is properly registered with the state charity registration office (In the U.S. this is usually a division of the office of the Attorney General. In Canada, check out the Canada Revenue Agency.)
And remember, the care and respect that you demonstrate in both funding and volunteering activities provides students with philanthropic lessons that will last a lifetime.
On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Mark Bergel, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director of A Wider Circle (a BBB Accredited Charity). A Wider Circle is an organization that works to end poverty for individuals and families by collecting and distributing donated goods, providing professional attire, job preparedness courses, and a well-baby program.
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://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