Wise Giving Wednesday: 15 Years of BBB Wise Giving Alliance

By H. Art Taylor
President & CEO BBB Wise Giving Alliance
Jul 17, 2020

Today, March 23 rd, is the 15 th anniversary of operating under the name “BBB Wise Giving Alliance.”  We are proud of our legacy, devoted to our mission of helping donors identify trustworthy charities, and look forward to expanding our reach in the charitable sector in years to come.  As we celebrate our anniversary, I am reminded about how the past 15 years have been a function of our collaboration, communication and credibility. 

When the BBB Wise Giving Alliance formed in 2001 it represented one of the highest forms of collaboration – a merger of the two largest charity monitoring organizations that existed at that time: the National Charities Information Bureau (NCIB) which began in 1918 as the first organization in the nation to establish charity accountability standards and the Philanthropic Advisory Service (PAS) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus which had been reporting on national charities under various different names since the 1920s.  Both organizations 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.  The combined charity reporting legacy of the merger partners represents more than a century of experience and helped provide a solid foundation on which to grow.  But our collaborative efforts continued as we helped develop the reporting framework known as Charting Impact (2011) with both Independent Sector and GuideStar and helped spread the Overhead Myth campaign (2013) with GuideStar and Charity Navigator. 

Communication has also been a key element of our success these past 15 years as we have sought to expand our outreach to help educate more donors about giving wisely whether it be in the rush to provide relief assistance in the wake of a disaster or in the promotion of Giving Tuesday, the designated day for giving initiated in part through the work of the 92 nd Street Y in New York City.  The redesign and launch of the new Give.org website also helped spread our communication efforts to two audiences – the donating public and charitable organizations. Added features to the Give.org website included the Wise Giving Wednesday weekly blog and the Building Trust video series of interviews with CEOs and executives at BBB Accredited Charities. As a result of all these activities and more, we were able to generate over 852 million media impressions in 2015 – a cumulative total that far exceeds our efforts in previous years. 

Finally, our credibility is not only built on our legacy of experience but on the rigorous and careful approach we use in completing our evaluation of charities in relation to the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability .  This holistic approach to accountability has served donors well but is also a reflection of the open process in which these standards were developed – a three year project that involved extensive research on donor expectations and significant input form charities, foundations, regulators, accountants, fundraisers and other experts in philanthropy. An advisory committee representing these diverse interests prepared a set of draft standards that were distributed widely at conferences and placed on our website for public comment for over a year. 

We welcome the opportunity to serve both donors and charities as we continue to expand our efforts to strengthen donor confidence and help charities maintain accountable practices. 

The video below features my comments on this 15 th anniversary: 

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 https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/ 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

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