News & Updates


Wise Giving Wednesday: Strengthening Fundraising Appeals

May 15, 2019

Last week, Luana Lewis, Senior Vice President, Programs and Services, BBB Serving Metropolitan New York and Bennett Weiner, COO, BBB Wise Giving Alliance were honored to speak at a Not-for-Profit Seminar held by Grant Thornton in New York City. Their presentation topic, Strengthening Your Message – Communicating Clearly With Donors, focused on three risk management approaches to fundraising: (1) developing more accurate fundraising appeals by frequently evaluating solicitation messages and communication channels; (2) setting up a vetting procedure and data collection systems to help ensure that all fundraising claims can be substantiated; and (3) regularly updating the charity’s board of directors on fundraising procedures, policies, guidelines and major contracts.

Achieving greater control over fundraising messaging helps to protect nonprofits against reputational and fiduciary risks, and also helps to nurture donor trust. Since charities often experience frequent staff turnover, vetting processes and guidelines need to be embedded in operations for continuity.

Additional speakers at the seminar included representatives from Grant Thornton Not-for-Profit Higher Education and Auditing Services as well as Consumer Reports, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and UNICEF USA.

A repeated theme emerged from the day’s presentations: it is important for key charity staff to break out of their departmental silos and communicate with each other. When developing fundraising appeals, that practice is particularly valuable for development and financial officers, with oversight from general counsels and executive directors. Better communication across nonprofit disciplines can help strengthen the checks and balances within an organization, facilitate greater understanding and coordination, and do more to advance the charity’s objectives and goals.

One of the handouts at this meeting was Grant Thornton’s State of the Not-for-Profit Sector in 2019. This publication included articles on a number of issues which are coincidentally being addressed by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance such as the importance of considering collaboration activities to help accomplish a charity’s mission and the value of considering innovative approaches to drive a charity’s mission.

Video of the Week

As part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide a video that features an interview with Jaime Berman Matyas, President and Chief Executive Officer,  Student Conservation Association, (a  BBB Accredited Charity).  They have been involved in building the next generation of conservation leaders and encouraging environmental stewardship since 1957.   

Recent Reports

We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:

Finally, remember to let us know by going to 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