To encourage greater public confidence and trust in the charitable sector, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance
produces in-depth charity evaluation reports based on comprehensive Standards for Charity Accountability,
promotes a seal that signals charity commitment to ethical practices,
speaks out on accountability at meetings of charities and others in the sector, and
advises donors on responding wisely to charity appeals.
Through these activities, the Alliance helps advance high standards of conduct among charities and informed giving by contributors.
In 2008, over 1,100 reports about national charities were available on the Alliance Web site, www.bbb.org/charity, and the report section of the site attracted 2.3 million hits, up from 2 million in the prior year.
The Alliance’s national charity seal program grew to 238 in 2008, as over 41 additional national charities elected to participate. A participating charity can display the seal on its Web site and in its appeals, providing donors with a quick and easy way to see that it meets the Alliance’s Standards. Since its beginning the seal has appeared in well over a billion charity direct mail appeals. Under the heading “Start With Trust ®,” seal holder organizations were listed in a full-page ad in USA Today’s 2008 “Sharing in the USA” section.
The Alliance’s online charity reporting system and charity seal program, both available to local Better Business Bureaus under agreement with the Alliance, have increased interest in the integration of national and local charity evaluation. In 2008, at the third Alliance-sponsored “BBB Summit,” Better Business Bureau representatives met to explore ways of strengthening charity review programs throughout the system.
The Wise Giving Guide, the Alliance’s quarterly publication, summarizes the Alliance’s evaluations and includes articles on the why’s and how’s of charity practices that affect donors. In 2008, the Guide featured articles on charity mail, volunteer vacations, and giving for disaster relief, the last prompted by the Myanmar cyclone and China earthquake. The year’s final issue focused on the hard choices that both donors and charities were making to deal with the effects of the economic downturn.
In an initiative undertaken in 2008 with Muslim Advocates, a legal and civic education firm, the Alliance is encouraging American-Muslim charitable organizations to submit information for evaluation against the Alliance standards. The Alliance’s evaluation criteria and procedures are the same used with all organizations; Muslim Advocates works with Muslim charities to provide the information needed for review and to help them meet the Alliance standards.
At several meetings throughout the year, including the annual meeting of national charity seal holders, the Alliance explored charities’ views on ways to help charities report to the public on their effectiveness in meeting their missions. With a grant received late in 2008, the Alliance launched a formal project to develop a format that charities could use in sharing their effectiveness information.
As the nation’s premier charity monitoring organization, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance was quoted or featured in a wide variety of print and broadcast media, including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Forbes.com, AP, Gannett, ABC News, CNN, MSNBC, Los Angeles Times, Business Week and National Public Radio.
BBB Wise Giving Alliance – Roster of Board of Directors
2008 IRS Form 990 (Please note that this file is in a PDF format which requires your system to have Adobe Acrobat Reader. Because of its large size (35 pages) it may take a while to open. If you need to download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader program please click here.)