Whatever charity you prefer to support, it always feels good to give back to your community or to a cause you are passionate about. Unfortunately, not all charities manage donor contributions in the same manner. It’s important to have a clear understanding of a charitable organization’s mission, work and financials before you donate.
Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance (BBB WGA) helps donors make informed giving decisions and promotes high standards of conduct among organizations that solicit contributions from the public. It produces reports about national charities, evaluating them against comprehensive BBB’s Standards for Charity Accountability, and publishes a magazine, the Wise Giving Guide, three times a year. At the national and local level, BBB has established voluntary standards for charitable organizations based on information a donor may reasonably expect to evaluate on as an appeal for support.
On a local level, your Better Business Bureau, BBB serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin recently launched a new format for our BBB Charity Reports. Some of the great features include:
- An easier to read, more attractive look, which shows whether a charity “Meets Standards”, “Standards Not Met” or whether a Charity “Did Not Disclose” information. A charity that “Meets Standards” is a BBB Accredited Charity, which will have a Seal on their BBB Charity Report.
- A summary of the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability each organization meets.
- Tabs, which contain details related to the charity’s purpose, programs, staff members and financial distributions.
- A “Full Report” button for donors who would prefer to read the report without tabs.
- A “Share” button so you can connect the Charity Report you’re reviewing easily on social media.
To access any of BBB’s local Charity Reports in the San Antonio, Austin, Waco, Killeen, Corpus Christi, Victoria, Laredo and Permian Basin areas, go directly to bbb.org/central-texas. In the top search area, simply click “Charities” and type the name of the organization you’re looking for. In the individual reports, refer to the “Standards Legend” on the right screen to determine the status of each Charity Report as determined by BBB.
Charities are considered eligible for BBB Accreditation if they are publicly soliciting, locally governed, non-profit, charitable organization; at least two years old; and in compliance with BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. For details on the accreditation process for charities, click here.
Give.org has reports on about 1,300 nationally soliciting charities. In addition, about half of the 112 BBBs in the United States and Canada cumulatively produce reports on over 10,000 locally soliciting charities using the same BBB Charity Standards as BBB WGA. Evaluations are done without charge to the charity and are posted for free public access on Give.org.
BBB Charity Reports offer an unbiased overview so that consumers can feel confident when giving. Often, third-party recommendations such as bloggers or other websites, may not have fully researched an organization. BBB WGA does not rank charities, but rather seeks to assist donors in making informed judgments about those that solicit their support. These features make giving decisions easier by offering clear insight into various aspects of the organization.