MADISON (WKOW) -- After people spent billions of dollars on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, local charities are hoping they will have some left over for Giving Tuesday.
The idea started last year to establish a national day of charitable giving on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. This year, organizers want people to take "unselfies," a play on the phenomenon of taking self-portraits and posting them online. Rather, an "unselfie" consists of a "selfie" with a sign or caption talking about your favorite charity, and then uploading to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with #unselfie.
Several charities in the area are participating in Giving Tuesday, including the Dane County Humane Society, Henry Vilas Zoo, St. Mary's Care Center, Community Shares of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health, Arts Wisconsin, among many others.
Still, the regional Better Business Bureau wants people to be judicious when it comes to what charities they give to this holiday season. Experts say that people should do a number of things before they donate items or money:
First, look at the charity's financial health. They say to check to make sure that no more than 35 percent of the charity's money is spent on fundraising; you can find this information on sites like Give.org and CharityNavigator.org.
Next, make sure there's ample information available. The more transparent a charity is, the less likely it'll engage in unethical behavior, according to Charity Navigator.
Also, look at data, not stories, to evaluate the charity's impact on communities, making sure that they're making meaning change in people's lives.
Lastly, don't feel pressured, said Kimberly Hazen, regional director of the Better Business Bureau Southwest Office. "Unscrupulous charities give a lot of high pressure solicitations. A reputable charity will give you time to think it over. Don't give until it hurts. Give until it feels good."
For more information, 27 News reporter LiLi Tan will be live at the Dane County Human Society during Wake Up Wisconsin Tuesday morning at 6:00 and again at 6:30 a.m. She and the BBB's Kimberly Hazen will show people an easy way to investigate a charity, as well as talk to the DCHS's community outreach specialist about how Giving Tuesday has made an impact.
More online resources include the BBB's Wise Giving Guide. For a list of items that local charities need, the United Way has compiled the wish lists of area nonprofits.