Nondisclosure Q&A

What is BBB Wise Giving Alliance?

What are the benefits to participating in the BBB WGA charity review process?

What do nationally-soliciting charities need to do?

Does disclosure/accreditation/BBB WGA charity review process cost money?

What is nondisclosure?

What is the entire review process?

What is the difference between not meeting standards and nondisclosure?

I’ve already disclosed to another charity reviewer and/or submitted my forms with IRS. Why should I do this?

Is there any flexibility in the BBB WGA reviews?

Does BBB WGA accreditation increase fundraising revenue?

How I can start the review process? 


What is BBB Wise Giving Alliance?

BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB WGA) is a standards-based charity evaluator that seeks to verify the trustworthiness of nationally-soliciting charities by completing rigorous evaluations based on 20 holistic standards that address charity governance, effectiveness reporting, finances, fund raising, appeal accuracy, and other issues. 

We do not rank charities but rather seek to assist donors in making informed giving decisions by providing objective reviews. The reviews are done without charge to the charity and are posted for free public access online. 

Learn more about the BBB WGA Charity Standards and read our charity reports at Give.org. 

What are the benefits to participating in the BBB WGA charity review process?

BBB WGA’s reports on national charities receive over 2 million views annually and provide the public with quick access to detailed information about your organization’s activities.  Our holistic standards help provide donors a unique and detailed assessment about charity trustworthiness which can’t be obtained anywhere else.  In turn, we help charities identify deficiencies so they can strengthen their operations and work towards meeting all of our standards.  Also, research indicates that meeting  all 20 BBB Charity Standards is “positively associated” with an 8% increase in fundraising revenue for nationally soliciting charities evaluated by BBB WGA.  The study was conducted by Professor Greg Chen of the Baruch College School of Public Affairs, City University of New York and the 2013 study report can be accessed here:

http://www.bbb.org/us/Storage/113/Documents/chen-paper.pdf 

What do nationally-soliciting charities need to do?

Work with the BBB WGA to complete a charity evaluation and be placed in the Give.org database to help donors make informed giving decisions. Show your investment to improving the charitable sector and helping donors! Start the process atGive.org/for-charities/starting-the-free-accreditation-process/ 

Does disclosure/accreditation/BBB WGA charity review process cost money?

No. The BBB WGA charity review process is completely free and straightforward to complete.   

What is nondisclosure?

Charities that are nondisclosure either have not consented or have refused to a BBB WGA review of their organization. As such, BBB WGA is unable to determine if the charity has met all the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability. The BBB WGA advises donors to avoid or to be extremely cautious when giving to nondisclosure charities. While nondisclosure charities could be benign, they could also be hiding something. 

What is the entire review process?

The BBB WGA charity review process will determine whether your organization meets the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.

  1. Enroll:  Complete the short enrollment form and our staff will grant access to the full questionnaire.
  2. Complete the Online Questionnaire: Fill out the form, press the submit button, and agree to have your charity evaluated.
  3. BBB WGA Evaluation:  We will complete a draft report using the information submitted and mail it to you for review.
  4. Draft Report:  You will be provided with an opportunity to respond to any findings and we will assist in answering questions.
  5. Published Report:  The completed report is posted on Give.org for two years.  Findings can be amended sooner based on new information you provide to us.

What is the difference between not meeting standards and nondisclosure?

“Standards Not Met”
A charity listed as “Standards Not Met” has not met one or more of the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability. By viewing this charity’s report, a donor can see which specific standards the charity has met and which it is has not met.  This information allows them to make an informed giving decision. 

“Did Not Disclose”
A charity listed as “Did Not Disclose” is a nondisclosure organization,meaning it has either not consented or refused a BBB WGA review of its practices. Donors have no way of knowing which standards the charity adheres to. 

The BBB WGA advises donors to avoid or to be extremely cautious when giving to nondisclosure charities. While nondisclosure charities could be benign, they could also be hiding something. 

“Why it Matters”

The difference between the two is that charities that haven’t met standards have still disclosed information, showing that they are invested in helping donors make wise giving decisions. While not all charities that disclose are able to meet all 20 standards, disclosing financial, governance, marketing and fundraising information to BBB WGA allows donors to see which standards a charity adheres to and make informed giving decisions. Many charities move from “Standards Not Met” to “Meets All Standards” as they work to reach the benchmark set in the industry standards. 

I’ve already disclosed to another charity reviewer and/or submitted my forms with IRS. Why should I do this?

Unlike other charity review organizations, the BBB WGA does not merely look at forms filed with the IRS or rank or rate charities based solely on financials or single indicators, such as an overhead ratio. Instead, we look at the whole picture of a charity’s practices. 

Our standards-based reviews involve a detailed analysis of multiple sources of information along with a collaborative effort with each charity to strengthen themselves by meeting these established industry standards – helping them to demonstrate their trustworthiness to the public. 

Is there any flexibility in the BBB WGA reviews?

BBB WGA reviews charities on 20 Standards for Charity Accountability. Each standard has a clear explanation – with no fancy formulas or weighted scores used by other charity monitors. A charity either meets our standards or it doesn’t. These standards were developed after a three year process that involved significant input from a multitude of charity industry stakeholders: charities, donors, fundraisers, regulators and accountants. 

Additionally, throughout the process, we maintain dialogue with the charity we are reviewing. If a charity believes there is some extenuating circumstance that has caused them not to meet a particular standard, we will consider the circumstance and let them know if it impacts our findings. 

Is BBB WGA accreditation associated with increased fundraising revenue?

Research has indicated that meeting all BBB charity standards was associated with an 8 percent increase in fundraising revenue for nationally-soliciting charities. The 2013 study was completed by Professor Greg Chen of the Baruch College School of Public Affairs, City University of New York. 

How I can start the review process?

Go to give.org/for-charities/starting-the-free-accreditation-process/