Yesterday in Washington, DC, the Federal Trade Commission held its first charity conference: Give & Take: Consumers, Contributions and Charity. Both Bennett Weiner (BBB WGA’s Chief Operating Officer) and I were honored to participate on separate panel discussions that addressed various issues about safeguarding donors from fraud and deception. There were a variety of speakers at this event including those with backgrounds from academia, the federal and state regulatory community, crowdfunding sites, infrastructure organizations, nonprofit legal experts as well as charity monitoring groups such as BBB WGA.
In part, BBB WGA seeks to educate the public about deceptive fundraising practices by sharing wise giving advice as well as by completing evaluative reports based on the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. These holistic standards, however, address more than just deception and also include provisions about good governance practices, transparency, results reporting and financial management.
In my view, one of the most important elements of this gathering was the insights on the emerging challenges facing both donors and regulators in the future. In years to come, new forms of social media and communication will emerge such as applications of virtual reality which put viewers “in the scene” instead of just seeing a photo or video. This has the potential to create emotional fundraising asks that go far beyond what we have ever experienced. In turn, crowdfunding is evolving into forums that seek to help individuals not only raise money for immediate needs but also on a continuing basis. Regulators should gear up to this challenge and may need to seek outside collaborations to develop the skills and tools that will help them catch bad actors in these spaces.
March is colon cancer awareness month, and we are pleased to provide a video of Nicole Sheahan, Chief Development Officer of Colon Cancer Alliance (a BBB Accredited Charity) which works to unite patients, caregivers, health care providers, cancer researchers, policymakers, and concerned citizens in a campaign to eradicate colorectal cancer. The organization also seeks to advocate effective screening, diagnoses, treatment and support for research. March is colon cancer awareness month.
We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:
Finally, remember to let us know by going to https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/ if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.
H. Art Taylor, President & CEO
BBB Wise Giving Alliance