Wise Giving Guide

The Wise Giving Guide is published three times a year to help donors make more informed giving decisions.  Each issue includes a cover story on a topic related to charity accountability and a compilation of the latest national charity evaluation conclusions completed by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance.

Click on the titles below to view the cover stories from the current and previous issues.  

Spring 2018 Wise Giving GuideFUTURE FUNDRAISING

Exploring new fundraising methods made possible by advencements in technology and communications including: cryptocurrency, virtual reality, social media and peer-to-peer.




BETTER TOGETHER: Charities and Collaboration

Featuring a summary of an article series developed by BBB WGA in partnership with and hosted by Stanford Social Innovation Review that centers around the theme of collaboration in the nonprofit sector. 



Fall 2017 Wise Giving GuideDONOR HANDBOOK

In this issue, we offer advice for donors on 7 common topics from opting out of charity solicitations to tips on how to give wisely. 





APPEALING TO YOUR BETTER JUDGMENT: Truthfulness in Fundraising

A call to charities to be transparent and truthful in their fundraising appeals.  We also review poor fundraising practices, charity scams, and highlight some red flags for donors to be aware of.




THE SUM OF OUR PARTS: Collaboration in the Charitable Sector

Examining the role of collaboration among charities, including barriers and a look at successful examples.





THE CLOTHES OFF YOUR BACK: The Ins and Outs of Donation Bins

Learn what donors should know before giving used clothing to the now commonplace donation bin.






We take the opportunity to celebrate 15 years as the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and a century of trust in charity reporting.






In this edition, we take a look at how things have changed when it comes to workplace giving.  The old campaign format is evolving to keep up with today's employees.




REFUSING TO PLAY BALL: When Charities Don't Disclose

By sharing information with us, national charities are helping donors make giving decisions to charities they can trust.  In this edition, we look at the reasons charities may not choose to participate in our charity reporting process, and what that means for donors.   



THIS IS PERSONAL: Privacy and Security in Online Giving

There is growing concern over the security of donor information collected by charities.  In this edition we describe tactics used by cybercriminals, how charities protect themselves, and what you should know as a donor.



Winter/Holiday 2014 Wise Giving Guide

FUNDRAISING GOES VIRAL:  The Ice Bucket Challenge and Social Media

An overview of the Ice Bucket Challenge video that went viral in 2014 and raised over $100 million for the ALS Association as well as a discussion of other successful social media campaigns involving charity fundraising such as #GivingTuesday.




LEGACY OF AID: Benefit concerts then & now

For over 40 years, the benefit concert has served as one of the most easily recognizable forms of aid for charitable organizations.  This article examines some of the most notable events during this time.  Beyond describing the circumstances and the dollars raised, there will be an examination of lessons learned and a discussion of the potential future for this fundraising alternative.


How the Millennial generation interacts with charities and what this might mean to the future of charity accountability. Discusses traits of the Millennials such as mobile giving, volunteerism, and crowdfunding. Also includes generational chart that defines, Generation Y, Generation X, Boomers and Matures. 


An overview of BBB Wise Giving Alliance subjects from the past year including: Top Five BBB Charity Review Findings, Academic Study Shows Meeting BBB Charity Standards Associated with Greater Fundraising Results, BBB WGA Perspective on The Overhead Myth campaign. 

CROWDFUNDING for Charitable Causes

An overview of the use of crowdfunding websites to raise money for charitable purposes. How it all started, growth, how does it work, tax deductibility issues, as well as crowdfunding cautions and risks.

CAN MAIL APPEALS ALSO EDUCATE OR ADVOCATE: The controversy over joint cost allocation

Sometimes a charity is involved with a fundraising activity, such as direct mail, that is requesting contributions, but is also seeking to accomplish something else. The letter may ask you to take a certain action to further the charity's cause such as signing a petition or seeing a doctor if certain warning signs of disease are present. This cover story discusses the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) covering this subject and the controversy over how such expenses are recognized in the financial statements of charitable organizations.


The keynote address delivered by BBB WGA President H. Art Taylor to the 2012 conference of the National Association of Charity Officials (NASCO) in Washington, D.C. This annual meeting is held in conjunction with the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG). The speech covers various issues related to the accuracy and truthfulness of charitable appeals.

FUND RAISING EVENTS: Advice for Donors

Advisories for donors about raising funds through walkathons, marathons, celebrity fund raising events, fund raising dinners, raffles, charity auctions and other events. Tax deductibility of donations is also highlighted.

CAUSE-RELATED MARKETING: Branding, Buying & Donating

An overview of promotions that involve selling a consumer product or service in the context that its purchase will benefit a specified charitable organization. How it works and recommended disclosures for such promotions as described in the BBB Charity Standards.


Charities are using text giving, Facebook, and Twitter for 0fundraising and engagement purposes. What are the opportunities and challenges for both charities and donors?

CHARTING IMPACT: An Additional Tool to Help Make Informed Giving Decisions

More charities are asking not "What did we spend?" but "What was the result of what we spent and did?" This cover story discusses the development of an online tool intended to help nonprofit organizations consider and communicate their progress toward impact. This project was the result of a strategic alliance between BBB WGA, GuideStar USA and Independent Sector. (BBB WGA 2014 Update: Charting Impact reports are now located at the GuideStar.org Webiste.)


An overview of the broad nature of the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability and the BBB WGA charity report process. A discussion of how charities change their practices in order to meet these standards.


A discussion of how celebrities help organizations raise funds and engage in the charity's activities.


An overview of the volunteering marketplace: who volunteers, what they do, and starting the search for volunteer openings.

PLANTING A LEGACY – Charitable Bequests

Giving to charities by bequests – motivations, lessons from life and litigation, issues with state officials.


Gifts-in-Kind:  a discussion of contributing goods to charities in bulk quantities – valuation issues, accounting controversies, and charity programs.

DONOR PRIVACY – Disclosure? Exposure?

What is typically covered in charity privacy policies?  Data breaches and other donor cautions.