Release date: October 27, 2011
Washington, D.C.—The last quarter of the year, known as the "giving season," is a crucial time for both charities and donors. Half of the nonprofits that participated in a 2010 fundraising survey reported that they receive the majority of contributions during the last three months of the year, and online giving has peaked at the end of December in recent years.
An uncertain economy gives the 2011 giving season special importance. "In down economic times, philanthropy is more important than ever, and so is the hard-earned money of donors across country," said Bob Ottenhoff, president and CEO of GuideStar, the leading source of nonprofit information. "Donors want to be confident that the money they give is being put to the best possible use. No matter how large or small the donation, donors want to know that their money is making an actual difference for the causes they support. Research is the only way to ensure confidence. It's also a great strategy for dealing with holiday fund-drives and preventing last-minute impulse giving."
GuideStar offers the following five tips to help donors get the most out of their end-of-year charitable giving:
Verify a charity's legitimacy.With a glance at a nonprofit's report on GuideStar, you can find out if it is a legitimate tax-exempt organization. Nonprofits that do not meet IRS criteria are flagged.
Get the cold, hard facts.A reputable organization will:
And don't forget the stakeholder reviews found on GuideStar and GreatNonprofits and the expert analyses on Philanthropedia and in GuideStar's TakeAction resource center.
"Giving wisely is as important a message as giving charitably," added Ottenhoff. "High-performing nonprofits—those that are making the biggest impact—deserve the most support."
For donors who want to give with their heads as well as their hearts, research is the best way to make sure their money is going to the right place. Resources such as GuideStar and Philanthropedia are great places to start.
GuideStar, www.guidestar.org, connects people and organizations with information on the programs and finances of more than 1.8 million IRS-recognized nonprofits. GuideStar serves a wide audience inside and outside the nonprofit sector, including individual donors, nonprofit leaders, grantmakers, government officials, academic researchers, and the media.
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GuideStar is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Copyright © 2013, GuideStar USA, Inc. All rights reserved.