In 2014, Americans hit an all-time high of charitable contributions. More than $350 billion dollars were given over the course of the year, from pennies dropped into jars to checks written in generous form. As a county, we should feel proud of our increase in attention, both in time and in money, to problems and issues in our world, and better yet, that we are taking action to engage in making a difference.
The world today, though, is not always as honest and pure as we would hope. When making a donation, most of us assume- and understandably so- that the charity collecting donations or the person raising funds for a cause are going to be responsible and efficient with our contribution. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Just recently, the FTC and states ruled to dissolve two fraudulent charities after they had swindled donors and broken trust with the public. It happens all too often.
Trust and transparency are important to keep in mind whenever making any sort of donation, but these concepts become particularly important to those donors who may make large or recurring donations. So, how can you be sure that your generous donation is going to an organization that can be trusted? How can you be sure that will make the most of every dollar in order to achieve the biggest impact?
Don’t go it alone – go to the experts. BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB WGA) is a standards-based charity evaluator that works to monitor and evaluate charities so you don’t have to. Based on 20 standards, ranging from charity governance, effectiveness reporting, finances, fundraising, appeal accuracy, and more, the BBB WGA evaluates more than 1,300 national charities. It is the mission of the BBB WGA to help donors making smart giving choices, ensuring their donation is being placed into trusted hands.
Before making your next donation, big or small, consider these:
- Research your chosen charity. Part of BBB WGA’s mission is to provide donors with free, comprehensive reports that go beyond a financial report. BBB WGA monitors every aspect of a charity to make sure the organization is functioning honestly and transparently. The reports include the BBB WGA 20 Standards, and offer a threshold score for each standard, allowing you to make an educated decision as to whether or not proceed with your donation.
- Resist pressure to give on the spot. Whether it be a telemarketer, door-to-door solicitor, or ask at a fundraising gala, resist giving a donation on the spot before gathering all the details to make a wise giving choice.
- Be wary of heart-wrenching appeals. Less reputable charities may try to use emotional appeals to gain your dollar. What truly matters is what the charity is doing to help.
- Learn more about general giving habits and tips. Donors should feel confident in their donation and in their chosen charity. Check out tips on give.org and look for our tri-yearly issues of the Wise Giving Guide.
About BBB Wise Giving Alliance:
BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB WGA) is a standards-based charity evaluator that seeks to verify the trustworthiness of nationally-soliciting charities by completing rigorous evaluations based on 20 holistic standards that address charity governance, effectiveness reporting, finances, fundraising, appeal accuracy, and other issues. National charity reports are produced by the BBB WGA and local charity reports are produced by local Better Business Bureaus – all reports are available at Give.org. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter at @bbbgive for more wise giving tips and updates.
Art Taylor is president and CEO of BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB WGA) which verifies the trustworthiness of nationally-soliciting charities by completing rigorous evaluations based on 20 holistic standards that address charity governance, effectiveness reporting, finances, fund raising, appeal accuracy and other issues. Taylor has dedicated his career to charity transparency and accountability. Charity evaluations are available to the public at Give.org.