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Public Calls for More Clarity in Charity Disaster Appeals Says New Survey from BBB’s Give.org

Jul 17, 2019

Arlington, VA (July 17, 2019) – Only 24% of individuals say charity disaster relief appeals are “very clear,” according to new research from BBB’s Give.org. The standards-based, charity-evaluation group today released a special Give.org Donor Trust Report: Disaster Relief Donor Expectations. The report, a survey of 2,100 adults in the United States and 68 national and local disaster relief charities, explores donor expectations related to disaster relief giving. This report also highlights the role news media plays igniting public concern and action, making the medium an important agent in promoting effective and trustworthy support.

“The empathy created in those moments after a disaster can elicit the best in our humanity,” said H. Art Taylor, president and CEO of BBB’s Give.org, “but as we enter the hurricane season, we must ensure that appeals for relief assistance also strengthen trust in the charitable community. Our donor survey shows that people want to know what specific disaster relief services they are supporting. We also see an opportunity for news media to build on their disaster relief influence by being clear about the services provided by featured charities.”

Report highlights include:

  • When asked “Thinking about disaster-related appeals you have seen, do you believe that most of the appeals clearly explain what disaster response activities the charity will carry out?” individuals indicated: Very clear 24%, Somewhat clear 41%, Not clear 20%, Not sure 15%.
  • The most significant influence on disaster relief givers is news media, with 43.2% of donors, and 56.6% of charities, reporting news media is the strongest influence on disaster giving decisions.
  • When compared to older generations, younger donors were more likely to respond to celebrity (i.e., movie, tv star, famous athlete, etc.) fundraisers for disaster relief. The most frequent reason cited for having donated to a celebrity’s disaster relief fundraiser were: being a fan of the celebrity (46.2% of men and 30.3% of women) and trust in the celebrity’s ability to choose (29.0% of men and 25.4% of women). Also, most people (83%) who donated to a celebrity’s disaster relief fundraiser said they would have otherwise donated to other relief efforts.
  • Only 14.8% of charities addressing disaster relief said crowdfunding sites help increase the total amount of funds donated to charities.

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 look into 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 the BBB WGA 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 2018, people turned to BBB more than 173 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.4 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org.

MEDIA CONTACTS: For more information, journalists should contact Bennett Weiner (703-247-9323 or bweiner@give.org)