News & Updates

 

Wise Giving Wednesday: Give.org Cited as Benchmark for Giving

Dec 5, 2018

Previously the Wise Giving Wednesday blog referenced an article, Give.org – The Benchmark for Giving, published by ConsumersAdvocate.org, an organization that has no affiliation or connection to BBB Wise Giving Alliance. We wanted to bring this piece to your attention since it speaks to the heart of what we are about – a set of standards or benchmarks that help us evaluate charity governance, finances, results reporting, appeal accuracy and other matters. The charity reports we produce, at no charge to the subject charity, provide donors with a means to help verify the trustworthiness of organizations soliciting their support. The article written by ConsumersAdvocate’s Gabriel Sanchez, with help from Editor Scott Smith, provides an overview of our activities and identifies the long BBB history and experience with reporting on both nationally and regionally-soliciting charities.

The 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability took several years to develop with the help and input of charities, fundraisers, foundations, accountants, government regulators, the donating public, Better Business Bureaus among others. These benchmarks were intended to represent minimum thresholds of practice that all publicly-soliciting charities should be able to meet. The issues addressed in these standards were mirrored by other organizations (such as Independent Sector’s Principles of Good Governance and Ethical Practice) that subsequently produced similar guidelines that addressed many of the same areas as BBB Wise Giving Alliance. This is not coincidence but shows convergence and consistency of the charitable community in recognizing what benchmarks are important to follow.

The other part of our legacy that reflects our accountability approach is that BBB Wise Giving Alliance works with charities to not only inform them of any deficiencies that are found but also identifies ways they can help address them. This reflects our role to not only help donors make giving decisions but to also help charities improve and strengthen their practices. We correspond with organizations and communicate on an individual basis in order to complete our reports.

Because of the robust nature of our review and the broad scope covered by our standards, our charity evaluations require much more than just an IRS Form 990 and/or charity financial statement. We subscribe to the Overhead Myth philosophy that financial ratios should not be the sole indicator of charity performance.

While almost two-thirds of the charities provide us with requested information to complete such evaluations, some unfortunately choose not to disclose any information despite repeated written request. Nevertheless, our donor inquirers want to know if a charity meets our standards and are not pleased to hear when a charity provides no information at all. We treat all charities with the same respect and apply our standards objectively whether they are an organization with just a few years of experience or a famous long-established name recognized by most.

We hope you will take a moment to review the Consumer’s Advocate article about our work and also make good use of our website to make wise giving decisions during the holiday season.


Video of the Week

As part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to provide a video that features Michael Roberts, President and CEO, First Nations Development Institute (a BBB Accredited Charity) which works to improve economic conditions for Native Americans through technical assistance and training, advocacy and policy, and direct financial grants. 


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 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