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Better Business Bureau ®
Start With Trust®
Central Virginia
Standard 15

Have solicitations and informational materials, distributed by any means, that are accurate, truthful and not misleading, both in whole and in part. Appeals that omit a clear description of program(s) for which contributions are sought will not meet this standard.

A charity should also be able to substantiate that the timing and nature of its expenditures are in accordance with what is stated, expressed, or implied in the charity's solicitations.

Information Needed from Charity to Determine Compliance:

The charity provides samples of its solicitations and informational materials. These include, as applicable, direct mail appeals, telephone appeals, invitations to fund raising events, print advertisements (newspapers, magazines, etc), scripts of television and radio appeals, grant proposals, internet appeals.

Application:

The Alliance evaluates the materials provided with reference to the points below:

  • If the charity's appeals state or imply that donations will be used during a certain time period (for example, immediate disaster response) and/or for a specified purpose (for example, to assist disaster victims), the charity should be able to substantiate that it has followed through on these commitments.

  • Appeals that request donations (whether from new donors or for renewed support from previous donors) should include a description of the specific program activities for which funds are requested. If the appeal describes a problem (for example, a recent disaster or missing children) without a description of how the charity plans to address it, the charity does not meet this standard.

The Alliance may ask the charity to substantiate the accuracy of appeal statements, including, but not limited to the following situations:

  • Whether the financial references used in appeals match the figures found in the charity's financial statements;

  • Whether claims to emergency financial need accurately reflect the charity's current financial condition;

  • Whether outdated stories, photographs, and/or statistics (i.e., older than three years) are represented as being current; and/or

  • Whether the charity's references to its achievements and successes (for example, the number of individuals served) are accurate.