“Hi, I’m calling on behalf of the Breast Cancer Support Association of America.”
That’s what the woman on the other end of the phone line said to me when I picked up my cell phone recently. Before I could respond, the woman quickly continued.
“We provide mammograms for women who can’t afford them. Can we count on you to make a donation and save a life today?”
Well who says no to helping save a life by providing a mammogram, especially during
Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Most people help when they can. I was nearly
tempted to hand over my credit card information, too. But alas, I work for the
Better Business Bureau and am inherently leery of any unsolicited phone call I
receive, no matter how good it sounds.
I asked the woman on the other end of the line to repeat the name of the charity she was calling about. She repeated it – the Breast Cancer Support Association of America – and quickly asked another question.
“What credit card will you be using to save a life today?”
I told the woman to hold on for just one moment
while I ran her charity through the give.org website to ensure they do indeed
provide mammograms for uninsured or under insured women.
Since I had not mentioned that I also work for the
Better Business Bureau, I’m sure the woman on the other end of the line thought
I was trying to buy time. She patiently waited while I typed the fictitious
charity into the search bar on the give.org website.
And wouldn’t you know it. There certainly was no Breast
Cancer Support Association of America. The name, though long winded, sounds
realistic enough. Sadly though, if you “donate” to the “charity,” you will only
be lining a scammer’s pockets. As soon as I told the woman on the phone that I
couldn’t find the name of her charity, she hung up. Surprise, surprise.
Whenever I talk to my partners in media across the state, or even to a friend or family member considering a donation, I always refer them give.org, the Better Business Bureau’s charity monitoring website. As we say over at give.org, we monitor charities, so you don’t have to. We don’t rank those charities or assign them a letter grade. Instead, we like to help donors make informed giving decisions and help charities hold themselves to higher standards of conduct (we call them our Standards for Charity Accountability).
Better Business Bureau reports on national charities that the
public has most often asked about as well as charities that request to be
evaluated. Give.org reports on about 1,300 national charities. In addition, BBB
reports on over 10,000 local charities using the same BBB Charity Standards. Evaluations on charities are done with no charge to the organization and posted for the public to view
freely at give.org.
To sum it all up: BBB is on a mission to help you
give better. We want your donation to go where you intend. We want your
favorite charity to be a good steward of the gift you give. We want to make
sure you don’t get scammed by a phony charity.
So, before you get another scam charity telephone
call, take a few minutes on lunch break, or when you normally scroll Instagram,
and head to give.org. There you’ll find tips and tricks to give like a boss. You’ll
find a real breast cancer support charity that deserves your generosity.
And when you give more, you help more.
When you land on the phone with the right charity
and someone asks, “What credit card would you like to use to save a life,” you
can feel great about your gift, headed to help someone in real need.
Way to go, savvy donor. You are making the world a
better place every day!