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BBB’s Give.org Study: Nearly 1 in 4 Donors Stop Giving After Learning of Sexual Harassment

Jul 10, 2020

Arlington, VA (July 13, 2020) – According to new research from BBB’s Give.org, close to 50% believe sexual harassment is a problem in charity workplaces, and close to 40% of donors who learned about sexual harassment at a specific charity say they no longer contribute to that organization (22%) or reduce their support (17%).

The standards-based, charity-evaluation group today released the Give.org Special Report: Sexual Harassment and the Charitable Sector. The report, a survey of more than 2,100 adults in the United States and more than 1,000 adults in Canada, explores how allegations of sexual harassment at a charity can strain the relationship between donors and charities.

“As mission-driven organizations, charities have a special place in the hearts of the public and can be held to a high ethical standard,” said H. Art Taylor, president and CEO of BBB’s Give.org, “As an issue of good governance, charities must strengthen their cultures so that sexual harassment is clearly understood and never tolerated. They must be prepared to react in a timely and appropriate fashion, and openly communicate with their donors about the issues and any implemented solutions.”

Report highlights include:

  • Close to 50% of U.S. and Canadian respondents say they believe sexual harassment is a common problem in charity workplaces (16% in U.S./13% in Canada), or sometimes a problem (36% in U.S. and Canada).
  • 22% of U.S. donors and 30% of Canadian donors who learned about sexual harassment at a specific charity say they no longer contribute to that organization, and another 17% (16% in Canada) report reductions in their support.
  • Of those who reduced or stopped supporting a specific charity, 39% in the U.S. and 37% in Canada report not replacing the donation. In addition, 13% in the U.S. and 21% in Canada say they replaced their donation outside the cause area.
  • When comparing different workplaces, a relatively high portion of respondents say they do not know whether sexual harassment is a problem for charities (20.8% in U.S./28.8% in Canada) as compared to other sectors (with 6.4% to 13.7% for other sectors in U.S. and Canada).
  • Relatively few respondents heard about sexual harassment involving a charity during 2019 (22.7% in U.S./18.8% in Canada). Participants who report being employed by a charity themselves were much more likely to say that they heard about sexual harassment at a charity (52.0% in U.S./44.3% in Canada).

For a free copy of the report, go to Give.org/DonorTrust.

BBB’s Give.org urges donors to give thoughtfully by taking the time to investigate charities before making a donation and to visit Give.org to verify if a charity meets the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.

ABOUT BBB WISE GIVING ALLIANCE: BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB’s Give.org) 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, results reporting, finances, fundraising, appeal accuracy and other issues. National charity reports are produced by BBB’s Give.org and local charity reports are produced by local Better Business Bureaus – all reports are available at Give.org.

ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands, and charities they can trust. In 2019, people turned to BBB more than 183 million times for BBB Business Profiles on nearly 5.8 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at BBB.org.

MEDIA CONTACTS: For more information, journalists should contact Elvia Castro (703-247-9322 or ecastro@give.org)