News & Updates

 

Wise Giving Wednesday: Accountability Anniversary

Feb 26, 2020

Next month (March 23rd), will be the 19th anniversary of operating under the name “BBB Wise Giving Alliance.”  Our history, however, extends back more than 100 years. Since the 1920s, we operated under previous names, such as Philanthropic Advisory Service, as part of the national office of the Better Business Bureau. In 2001, this charity reporting program merged with the National Charities Information Bureau which began in 1918 as the first organization in the nation to establish charity accountability standards. Both charity reporting entities had a shared mission of helping donors make wise giving decisions and both completed reports on nationally soliciting charities using a broad set of standards that addressed governance, finances, and transparency issues. We are proud to continue this legacy of helping to educate the donating public. Our long history has not only provided valuable experience in addressing charity accountability but helped shape our understanding of the some of the fundamental issues that have grown in importance.

Donors Seek Giving Guidance.

The charitable sector has grown dramatically over the decades. There are now over 1 million organizations that are tax-exempt as charities under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. While this reflects the diversity of new ideas and approaches to problems and causes, this growth also results in more challenging choices for donors seeking to make informed giving decisions. It has also provided more incentive for them to check out organizations before they make a contribution.

Standards Matter.

While the increased availability of charity data and information online has certainly helped donors, many donors also recognize the value of having accountability standards to help provide a benchmark and also provide guidance for charities in identifying expectations of ethical behavior. In addition, BBB Wise Giving Alliance’s broad-based approach to accountability in addressing far more than just finances has demonstrated to be a successful tool in fulfilling this objective.

Verifying Charity Trustworthiness.  

When individuals contribute to charities they are placing their trust in the organization to carry out the announced program services the charity has described. Donor expectations, however, go beyond just an interest in a charity achieving results, they also want organizations to carry out their activities with transparency, oversight and integrity. They want charities to be honest and accurate in their representations and appeals for support. We believe one of the most effective ways of addressing this is verifying if the charity meets the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. We accomplish this through the reports we produce on charities which specify if a charity meets these standards. There is no charge to charities for this assessment and the reports have free access on Give.org.


Video of the Week

As part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide a video featuring Mitchel Rosenzweig, Chief Financial Officer of the Jewish National Fund (a BBB Accredited Charity) which promotes, educates and advocates for community and environmental issues surrounding Israel and the world. Among other things, it plants trees in the desert, builds parks, creates new communities, bolsters Israel’s water supply, and helps develop arid-agriculture techniques.


Recent Reports

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 www.give.org/charity-inquiry  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