Like many people, Troy likes to support nonprofit agencies in his neighborhood by making a donation a few times each year. However, he gets worried whenever he hears news stories about nonprofits that turn out to be scams, or that don’t do what they say they’re going to with donations.
The Better Business Bureau has found that, “Inability to access relevant information limits people’s ability to distinguish charities that deserve their support from those that do not. Seven in 10 adults say it is difficult to know whether or not a charity asking for their support is legitimate. People’s main source of information to help make giving decisions are the charities themselves, but only half of the public credits charities with making the appropriate information available.” For each nonprofit reviewed, the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance assigns one of three labels…
- standard is met
- standard is not met
- unable to verify
…on 20 standards in four categories
- governance and oversight
- measuring effectiveness
- solicitations and informational materials
Nonprofits that meet the 20 standards are certified and are better philanthropic investments.
The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance 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 Standards for Charity Accountability. The overarching principles of these standards cover four essential areas that are necessary for determining trustworthiness: adequate board oversight, results that correspond with a charity’s mission, financial accountability, and transparent and accurate donor communications.
In 2014, a unique partnership between Better Business Bureau Serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming and United Way of Weld County was established. It minimizes duplication of efforts by volunteers at United Way and creates efficiencies that ultimately benefit both donors and charitable organizations and the causes they support. As a result, nonprofits supported through United Way must meet BBB’s 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.
“The necessity of nonprofit accountability is greater today than it was 20 or even 10 years ago. Donors increasingly want measurable proof that well-run organizations are utilizing their contributions to make enduring progress on community challenges.”Lyle SmithGraybeal, Vice President of Community Development at United Way of Weld County