Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Charity Wednesdays - European Art Institutions Compete for US Donors

I've said it before - Americans are the most generous givers of any developed country. It's true.  That is, in part, because of a tax system designed to encourage individual, rather than state, support for humanitarian and artistic endeavors.

In Europe, arts have traditionally received quite a bit of government support and have not had to rely on fundraising models that US art groups are familiar with.

A blurb in the Chronicle of Philanthropy seems to indicate that because of Europe's state financial woes, our friends across the Atlantic may be needing to learn a bit of Fundraising 101 and looking to US donors to support their endeavors.

Whether giving to noble causes here in the US or abroad, remember to do your homework and give wisely.

Somehow, I don't see places like The Louvre having much trouble with fundraising.  This lady here is pretty good for PR.  Not that she beats the shuttlecocks.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Charity Wednesdays - Donors Want to See The Good They Do

When you send a check to your favorite organization, do you know what that money is used for?  How exactly does it support your cause?

A recent survey of thousands of donors has revealed that we want to see the results of our giving.  We want to see what the money we give to nonprofit organizations actually does. 

At the BBB, this is what we hear every day.  Donors want to know where their money goes.  And they want to know that a charity can account for every dime.

And our charity reports show them that. 

Below is a snapshot from the BBB's report on Bone Marrow Foundation.  

From this segment of a report, a donor can clearly see Bone Marrow Foundation's sources of income, use of funds as % of total expenses, and total expenses for programs, fund raising, and administration.

This snapshot does not tell the whole story of Bone Marrow Foundation, it is only a small part of our complete report and we leave it up to the organization to convey the nuanced message of how donors affect its mission, but in a glimpse a prospective donor can tell a lot about this organization.

Our reports give donors the information they want.

Donors want to know how donations are spent.  What their money goes toward.

How are reports can help

Standards for Charity Accountability

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Gas Price Signs May Mislead Drivers

Gas-price signs will sometimes include promotions that drivers won't notice. Often, drivers don't notice because they've been conditioned to look at gas signs in a particular way. For the last two decades, gas price signs looked the same. They list the prices, top to bottom, of Unleaded, Super-unleaded, Super-Duper-Uber-Premium-Plus-Unleaded.

From time to time, we'll see filling stations post the price of gas with large, easily visible numbers, and near those large numbers is a tiny collection of text that says something like "with car wash" or "cash only."  Driver's often don't have time to carefully examine gas-price signs for tricks and catches before they take an exit.  Sometimes, the text is simply too small to read from the road. If the price of gas without the cash discount is not on display near the conditional price, the BBB would certainly challenge the transparency of such an advertising tactic. Now gas stations run promotions for gas prices contingent on the purchase of other products.

Hy Vee gas stations offers a discount to those who shop at Hy Vee. Many Phillips 66 and Conoco stations advertise the price of gas with a car wash. We've already established that advertising the conditional price without the regular price is ethically problematic, but what if they do advertise the regular price, just as big? What would that look like? Like this:

 In other words, it looks an awful lot like a regular gas sign, especially when traveling at sixty miles an hour. blogged about the problem because their contributors were sometimes confused by the prices. is a site that relies on regular people to post the price of gas around their area. The site then price of gas at individual gas stations across the country. Apparently, some of the contributors were submitting the gas price that was contingent on the purchase of a car wash and it angered some people who found out the price of gas was higher than reported.

If the price of both the discounted gas and the full-price gas are not prominently displayed, people should file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau for deceptive advertising. But he only way to avoid getting confused about the price is for drivers to recondition themselves to read qualifications very quickly. From now on, everyone should take a glance at the lettering near the price. If there are a few extra words that are too difficult to read, move on to the next gas station. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Charity Wednesday - BBB Sponsoring Consumer Event for Seniors on March 29th

Mark your Calendars!  In two weeks - March 29th - the BBB, together with the Johnson County Positive Aging Coalition, is sponsoring a consumer awareness event for seniors.  It will be held from 2-3:30 pm at Central Resource Library.

Older adults are invited to come learn about consumer scams created just for them, how the law can help protect seniors and their finances, and how to make smart charitable giving choices.  Speakers from the BBB, the Kansas Attorney General's Office, and Kansas Legal Services will be on hand to take questions.

See the flier below.

Healthy snacks will be served (free food!).

Friday, March 9, 2012

Scam Alert: CenCor, Inc/C2C Lending

A lending company claiming to be a defunct Kansas City business is preying on individuals searching for financial assistance. The company claims to be Cencor, Inc., which liquidated it's assets and shut down operation in 1999. People who have submitted their application through the website are contacted by Cencor, Inc. and are told they have been approved for a loan of $7000. The catch is that the borrower must wire a nearly $700 insurance fee.

Advance fees for loans are illegal in the United States. For more information on these types of loan scams, follow this link

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Charity Wednesdays - A Shout Out to the Mission Police Department

No, they did not let me slide on a traffic ticket.  I don't ever speed when I'm in Mission.  Everyone knows that is wrong.  I only speed in Leawood.  They need my money more.

This morning, however, I did get a very interesting tour of the Mission Police Department, as part of an event with the NE Johnson County Chamber of Commerce.  In addition to learning quite a bit about police vehicles, traffic stops, and police weapons, we were informed that the public is welcome to join the police when they do their twice-yearly DUI stings. 

What a perfect opportunity to educate your teenagers on what NOT to do when they're driving.  My own kids are still playing with Hot Wheels cars, so it will be a few years before I can take the Mission Police Department up on their offer.  But if any of our loyal readers work with teenagers, I suggest you call Mission and see when their next DUI sting is.  We will all be safer for your efforts.