Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Why do we need a Local Charity Reporting Service?
A: Area residents and businesses are generous individuals who want to know that the largest possible portion of their donated money goes to the cause for which it was intended.  And there is a strong demand for charitable information--thousands of consumers and business owners call the BBB asking for information on various nonprofits.  Thus, the Charity Reporting Service will help donors solve a problem--distinguishing the responsible and accountable organizations from the fraudulent and mismanaged.

In a general sense, its role is a kind of partnership with donors and philanthropic organizations in pursuit of the goals we all share: to strengthen public confidence in the voluntary sector and private giving by promoting the responsible use of funds.

Q: What charitable organizations are evaluated by the BBB?
A: The BBB sends questionnaires, evaluates, and produces reports on local organizations that solicit public funds and are considered public charities with 501(c)3 status by the Internal Revenue Service.  In certain instances, however, the BBB will investigate and provide reports on organizations that solicit under the guise of a charity or professional fundraising entities that solicit donations on behalf of charities.

Q: What are the Standards of the Charity Reporting Service and how were they developed?
A: Standards for Charity Accountability, published by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, were adopted for use by the Tri-State BBB after critical review.  Those standards include governance and oversight, measuring effectiveness, finances, and fundraising and informational material.

Q: Who can request information on a charitable organization and in what form?
A: Anyone who calls, writes or visits the BBB's website will receive information as to whether or not an organization meets standards; and if it does not, why.  Organizations generating a large number of inquiries or complaints my have a detailed report.  Additionally, the BBB newsletter will include a list of soliciting organizations, whether or not they meet standards, and any other pertinent information.

Q: Does the BBB recommend organizations that meet standards?
A: The BBB does not recommend or endorse any organization, but does report factual, unbiased information.