Give.org News RSS Feed http://google.com En Wise Giving Wednesday: 100% Claims in Charity Appeals <p>A statement used in a charity appeal can be accurate but may still provide a misleading impression to donors. While each appeal presents a different set of fact circumstances, there are certain phrases and references that cause BBB Wise Giving Alliance staff members to take notice and question the solicitation. Such is the case when an appeal references the “100%” figure. When we see this number, it is usually in reference to a statement claiming that “<i>100% of donations</i> <i>will be spent on specified program services</i>.”&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>While it is certainly possible that a charity can be soliciting for donor-restricted gifts that can only be spent on the promised activities, more often that is not the case.&nbsp; Rather, the charity has made an arrangement whereby funds received from private sources, such as board members, corporations or other sponsors, are being directed to pay for the charity’s administrative and fundraising expenses so that all of the public donations can be used for the announced programs.&nbsp; Unfortunately, this explanation may be absent when the 100% claim is used. As a result, contributors may get the mistaken impression that the charity does not have any “overhead” expenses.&nbsp;</p> <p>In other words, this 100% claim in appeals can be a type of <i>shell game</i> whereby donors are influenced to make a donation under the false appearance that, unlike charity competitors, this group devotes more of its funds to its cause. &nbsp;BBB Charity Standard 15 calls for solicitations and informational materials, distributed by any means, to be accurate, truthful and not misleading, both in whole and in part.&nbsp; If BBB WGA sees a 100% claim like the one mentioned above, the charity will not meet this standard unless it also includes a prominent explanation near the percentage reference that states how its overhead expenses are covered.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>As part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to provide a video that features Michael Roberts, President and CEO, <a href="http://www.firstnations.org/">First Nations Development Institute</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2ub3G8A">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which works to improve economic conditions for Native Americans through technical assistance and training, advocacy and policy, and direct financial grants.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Pb-LIV-8XK4" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2uaGG9C">National Eating Disorders Association</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2ub3pCA">Operation Homefront</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2ub3ia8">SADD</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/07/wise-giving-wednesday-100-claims-in-charity-appeals/; 7/19/2017 1:58:10 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Charity Sweepstakes Scam <p>You receive a call stating that <i>you’ve won $450,000 in a charity sweepstakes</i>!&nbsp; What, too good to be true you say?&nbsp; Well, the caller says she is with a government agency in Washington DC, your phone shows they are using a Washington DC number with a 202 area code, and they reference the name of a well-known, trusted charity: Make-A-Wish Foundation. All you need to do is provide banking information (or a wire transfer) to send them a few thousand dollars to cover taxes and insurance. Well, welcome to the latest charity scam courtesy of a crafty con that is spreading across the U.S. as you read this.</p> <p>The truth is the <a href="http://wish.org/">Make-A-Wish Foundation of America</a> (a <a title="BBB Accredited Charity" href="http://go.bbb.org/2uSvOM4" target="_blank">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) does not engage in <i>any</i> sweepstakes fundraising and the FTC or any other government agency would not be involved in contacting sweepstakes participants to inform them about their winnings and/or asking to collect funds to cover taxes or some other imagined fee.&nbsp; The FTC issued a <a href="https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/scams-name-charity?utm_source=govdelivery">fraud alert</a> about this scam last week. Make-A-Wish posted their own <a href="http://wish.org/content/fraud-alerts#sm.000gda76t10vxdz8xjw2qb0coulux">alert</a> and informs us the callers mix fact with fiction by using their name, may reference their actual Phoenix national office address and will have quick confident answers to almost any question thrown at them.</p> <p>Here are some charity sweepstakes tips to keep in mind to avoid being taken:</p> <ol> <li><strong>If a caller says you have to “pay” for a prize, hang up.</strong>&nbsp; If you truly participated and won a sweepstakes, you will never have to send any type of payment to get your winnings.</li> <li><strong>Government agencies won’t call you about sweepstakes. </strong>&nbsp;Scammers use this ruse to gain your trust and/or to make their tax or fees claim sound more official.</li> <li><strong>Watch out for unauthorized use of a real charity name.</strong>&nbsp; The caller may use the name of a nationally recognized charity, like Make-A-Wish Foundation, to help build credibility, they may even offer to “connect” you with the sweepstakes office of that charity.&nbsp; That’s another false-trust builder. If you truly want to connect with the charity, go to their official website for details.&nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Don’t succumb to pressure to do as they say.</strong> Sometimes the longer you stay on the call, the more opportunities you will be providing scammers to push the right buttons to convince you.</li> <li><strong>Report suspected scams to government authorities and the BBB. </strong>If you believe you have been the victim of a scam, contact the office of the attorney general in your state, report it to the FTC at <a href="http://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov">www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov</a>, and post your concerns to <a href="https://www.bbb.org/scamtracker/us/">BBB Scam Tracker</a> so that other members of the public will be informed about it.</li> </ol><hr /> <p>As part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to provide a video that features Shawn Sweeney, Sr., Communications Director at the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.janegoodall.org/">Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife, Research, Education and Conservation&nbsp;</a>(a&nbsp;<a title="BBB Accredited Charity" href="http://go.bbb.org/2ufey5A" target="_top">BBB Accredited Charity</a>).&nbsp; The Jane Goodall Institute works to promote understanding and protection of great apes and their habitat on the legacy of Dr. Jane Goodall, its founder, and to inspire individual action by young people to help animals and to protect the environment.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NcG2fHqzAhk" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/07/wise-giving-wednesday-charity-sweepstakes-scam/; 7/12/2017 4:18:18 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Philanthropic Freedom <p>As we return from the July 4<sup>th</sup> holiday weekend of celebrations of USA’s birthday, I am reminded not only of the freedoms all of us cherish but also of the wide diversity and liberty experienced by charitable organizations. The recognition of the unique inclination of Americans to create various associations and organizations was recognized about 185 years ago during a nine-month visit by a French civil servant, Alexis de Tocquevelle, who later published a book about this experience, <i>Democracy in America</i> which states that, “In the United States, as soon as several inhabitants have taken an opinion or idea they wish to promote in society, they seek each other out and unite together once they have made contact. From that moment, they are no longer isolated but have become a power seen from afar whose activities serve as an example and whose words are heeded.”&nbsp;</p> <p>I suspect that even de Tocqueville would be astonished that in 2016 there were 1,237,094 organizations tax-exempt as charities under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (Source: 2016 IRS Data Book.) &nbsp;And that total does not include all of the 350,000 houses of worship that are not required to apply for this tax-exempt status. No other country comes close to this volume of organizations. &nbsp;But in fairness, that statistic also reflects the broad definition of charity as described in section 501(c)(3) and that fact that the vast majority of these organizations are very small. Only about 350,000 of the 501(c)(3) groups file either the IRS Form 990 or IRS Form 990-EZ. Charities (except houses of worship) with revenue $50,000 or more must complete one of these 990 forms.&nbsp;</p> <p>With this philanthropic freedom also comes the recognition of responsibility. In addition to sharing the same tax-exempt status, charities also share a recognition of the importance of transparency and trust. In part, the <em><a href="/link/bf08473b31114ffdb14b01e3dd6bc76f.aspx">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></em> seek to help charities identify the minimum threshold behaviors (addressing governance, results reporting, finances and appeals) that donors expect them to follow. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>As part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to provide a video that features Kevin Washington, President and CEO of the <a href="http://www.ymca.net/">YMCA of the USA</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2thpcrL">BBB Accredited Charity</a>), the national office that assists local YMCAs in delivering and strengthening programs that engage people of all ages in improving their health and well-being through initiatives that include youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vJgg1fU2Oxw" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2thoL0v">Military Officers Association of America Scholarship Fund</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2thoRFp">National Center for Missing &amp; Exploited Children</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2th9EUW">Ronald McDonald House Charities</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/07/wise-giving-wednesday-philanthropic-freedom/; 7/5/2017 11:44:52 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Golfing “Fore” Charity <p>For many of us, July 4<sup>th</sup> brings to mind family outings, community concerts and fireworks which all contribute to make it a fun celebration. In the world of charity fundraising, summer fun for donors is often one of the incentives for using golf events to raise charity funds.&nbsp;Of course, not all golf fundraising events are the same. There’s lots to consider for both charities and donors.&nbsp; We won’t cover it all but offer a sampling of considerations through the following tips.&nbsp;</p> <ol> <li><strong>It’s about the charity, not the game</strong><b>.&nbsp; </b>The golfing event is really about raising money for the specified charity. This is all the more reason to make sure that appeals to participate include a clear description of the activities the money will be supporting. Although potential donors may be approached by colleagues and friends, they may be completely unfamiliar with the benefiting organization.&nbsp; Individuals should also check out the trustworthiness of the group by visiting Give.org to verify if they meet the 20 <em><a href="/link/bf08473b31114ffdb14b01e3dd6bc76f.aspx">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></em><i>.</i></li> <li><strong>Lots to plan before tee time</strong>.<b>&nbsp; </b>To be financially successful, golfing events take considerable advance planning. For the use of a popular golf course and to cut the best deal, a charity may need to make a reservation from six months up to a year before the planned date. &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Covering costs.</strong> &nbsp;Usually, a charity will seek to cover all of the golf event expenses (green fees, food, prizes, etc.) a couple months before the date of the event.&nbsp; This is usually done by selling sponsorships from businesses in exchange for advertising their name and logo as supporting the charity event. A number of online advisories about golfing events claim that this step is critical and if the charity is unable to raise sufficient advance funding, it should consider canceling.&nbsp; A charity golf event that loses money can result in negative publicity.</li> <li><strong>Volunteers are key.</strong>&nbsp; Organizing a golf fundraising event is not a one-person job. A charity should get help by using volunteers, especially on the day of the event.&nbsp; Setting up a committee might also be of assistance in getting connections to colleagues to sign up golfers for the date. &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Turning fun into financial success.</strong><b> &nbsp;</b>The most common game played in fundraising golf is called the <i>scramble</i> – each player in the group shoots from the tee, then everyone takes their next shot from the ball located in the best position. &nbsp;There are usually many opportunities to raise funds on the day of the event through various prizes, games and offerings such as putting contests, who can hit the longest drive, and asking donations for each <i>mulligan</i> (“do over” shot) used in a game. Also, some golf events are using mobile technology to enable bidding to raise money during these contests. These activities can quickly add up to significant amounts raised for the cause.</li> <li><strong>Start small and think big.</strong> Like all fundraising, it is sometimes best to test the waters by starting a small event and then working out the kinks to develop a more robust activity down the road.&nbsp; If a charity tries to develop its own version of the <i>U.S. Open</i> the first time out on the green, it will likely fall considerably short of its goal.</li> <li><strong>A fundraising supplement or staple?&nbsp;</strong> Charities usually use a golfing event as a supplement rather than a main source of funds as there are no guarantees, especially if you take the weather into account.<b style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</b></li> </ol> <p>Finally, a note about last week’s edition of Wise Giving Wednesday, which addressed <a href="/link/ceec76ca5a03494d9b0f541f7f1fbff0.aspx">Charities and Terrorist Financing</a>.&nbsp; We appreciate the feedback received by several readers and plan to follow-up on this subject based on this input.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>As part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to provide a video that features an interview with Jaime Berman Matyas, President and Chief Executive Officer, <a href="https://www.thesca.org/">Student Conservation Association</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2smHVhI">BBB Accredited Charity</a>). The Association has been involved in building the next generation of conservation leaders and encouraging environmental stewardship since 1957.&nbsp; Among other things, it provides college and high school-aged members with hands-on conservation service opportunities in several fields.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/CVS1lMeO60s" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2sn3ejm">Death with Dignity National Center</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2smY1bm">Foundation for AIDS Research</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2smuP49">Susan G. Komen</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/06/wise-giving-wednesday-golfing-fore-charity/; 6/28/2017 11:56:10 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Charity Accountability and Terrorist Financing Issues <p>Last week, I was in Berlin, Germany participating in the Annual Meeting of the <a href="https://www.icfo.org/">International Committee on Fundraising Organizations</a> (ICFO) which is an international association of 18 national charity monitoring organizations. Their membership and supporters include standards-based charity evaluation organizations that report on charities in other countries as we do in the United States and other organizations addressing philanthropy.&nbsp; Each year a different member hosts the conference, we were proud to do this at our <a href="/link/bf841ad93cfd4b079ad91d5661c3e117.aspx">2015 conference</a> held in Washington, DC.&nbsp;</p> <p>The meeting in Berlin, as in previous ICFO conferences, reminded me that charity accountability groups around the world recognize the value of a standards-based approach to reporting and face many of the same charity issues as we do at BBB Wise Giving Alliance. &nbsp;But there are new challenges as well which were featured in a series of presentations at this conference that discussed money laundering and terrorist financing and its impact on charities and monitoring organizations.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Berlin conference included a discussion of the activities of the <a href="http://www.fatf-gafi.org/home/">Financial Action Task Force</a> (FATF) which is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. The United States, Canada and Mexico and other countries are members in FATF. &nbsp;They have developed a series of recommendations to help form a coordinated response to these threats.&nbsp; FATF <a href="http://www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/fatfrecommendations/documents/bpp-combating-abuse-npo.html">Recommendation 8</a> requires that “the laws and regulations that govern non-profit organizations be reviewed so that these organizations cannot be abused for the financing of terrorism. The FATF has established best practices, aimed at preventing misuse of NPOs for the financing of terrorism while, at the same time, respecting legitimate actions of NPOs.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Nonprofit organizations are vulnerable to abuse by terrorist networks since relief organizations operate in some of the same areas where terrorist groups exist and background checks on relief workers hired in those countries may be difficult. In turn, relief charities can get into trouble if their assistance is inadvertently distributed to terrorists. This can be challenging when, for example, an organization, is just distributing food to needy individuals.&nbsp; Also, terrorist groups recognize that since charities are often more trusted by others due to the nature of their work, some may “mimic” legitimate charities in order to operate without detection.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>As part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to provide a video that features Eskinder Negash, Senior Vice President for Global Engagement, <a href="http://refugees.org/">U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2sqVYGt">BBB Accredited Charity</a>), a national refugee resettlement and immigration organization that specializes in providing services to foreign-born populations of forced migrants in the United States.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vxGEzw2rTDM" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2sqD6Hv">American Kidney Fund</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2sqHlTv">Bibles for the World</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2sql6gs">Big Brothers Big Sisters of America</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/06/wise-giving-wednesday-charity-accountability-and-terrorist-financing-issues/; 6/21/2017 12:41:51 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: $390 Billion Donated in 2016 <p><em>Giving USA</em>, the annual summary of U.S. giving statistics produced by the Indiana University Lily Family School of Philanthropy, just released figures for 2016 giving this week.&nbsp; As reported in the <em>Chronicle of Philanthropy</em> and other media articles such as the AP story in the <em><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/new-report-charitable-giving-in-us-rises-slightly-in-2016/2017/06/12/acbf32b4-4fa6-11e7-b74e-0d2785d3083d_story.html?utm_term=.c3cfd464eda3">Washington Post</a></em>, 2016 contributions totaled $390.1 billion which increased 2.7 percent in current dollars (1.4 percent adjusted for inflation) over the previous year. The largest reported increase was for environmental and animal-welfare organizations which increased 5.8 percent after adjusting for inflation.&nbsp; However, religious organizations continued to capture the biggest part of the giving pie with a slice totaling $122.9 billion representing 32% of total giving, followed by education (15%), human services (12%), health (8%), and all other causes (33%).&nbsp;</p> <p>In addition to confirming American generosity, this report reminds us each year that giving from living individuals (i.e., not including bequests) comprises 70% of donations totaling $281.9 billion dollars.&nbsp; Individual giving is the largest share of giving, and in my discussions with people about contributions, I sometimes hear the mistaken impression that foundations or corporations contribute a larger amount of the total than they actually do.&nbsp;</p> <p>We believe that each donor makes a difference, no matter how much they decide to give, since cumulatively they are the most significant part of philanthropy in terms of giving totals. This is also all the more reason to make each contribution count by verifying the trustworthiness of charities by visiting Give.org to find out if the subject charity meets the 20 <em><a href="/link/bf08473b31114ffdb14b01e3dd6bc76f.aspx">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a>.</em>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>As part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to provide a video of Delaney Gracy, M.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, <a href="https://www.childrenshealthfund.org/get-involved/">Children’s Health Fund</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2s0xrYy">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which seeks to deliver health care to disadvantaged children. Among other things, it has a national network that operates in 17 states and the District of Columbia that help reach over 75,000 individuals each year.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wz_xd-GT0i4" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p style="text-align: left;">We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2s0lWjI">Love146</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2s0D60O">NAEIR/National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2s0yt6S">Oxfam America</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/06/wise-giving-wednesday-$390-billion-donated-in-2016/; 6/14/2017 9:45:50 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: One Love Manchester and Charity Concerts <p>Ariana Grande’s benefit concert on June 4th, One Love Manchester, helped raise over $3 million for the British Red Cross to benefit the victims of the terrorist bombing at the Manchester Arena in England. This concert received worldwide attention and featured a variety of famous performers including Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Black Eyed Peas, Pharrell, Coldplay and others. The event also demonstrates how quickly people of concern can come together to help those in need.&nbsp;</p> <p>We are also reminded that not all charity concerts are conducted in response to major tragedies. During the spring, summer and extending into early fall, some cities and towns draw crowds for other music festivals to benefit charity. They have become quite commonplace not only to raise funds for specified charities but to also increase awareness of causes. But before you go online to purchase concert tickets for an upcoming charity event, we offer the following advice to keep in mind:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>Find out about the benefiting charity. While some concerts will help well-recognized organizations, others may assist groups that are less familiar to you. Visit the charity’s website to learn more about the programs and activities funds will support.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Be alert to ticket scalpers. If inflated ticket prices are being charged, don’t assume that will result in more money going to the charity. Scalpers recognize that some purchasers will not question the price if the event is organized for charity.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Merchandise sales may not help. You can’t assume, however, that all t-shirts and other items sold at a charity concert will benefit the named organization unless they are authorized to do so and specify that connection.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Verify charity trustworthiness by visiting Give.org to see if the organization meets the 20 <em><a href="/link/bf08473b31114ffdb14b01e3dd6bc76f.aspx">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></em>.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Even if you are not able to attend, there may be other opportunities to help the featured organization(s) by either making online donations via their websites or participating in text-to-give campaigns that may take place during the concert.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <hr /> <p>As part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to provide a video of Elena Davis, Founder of <a href="http://iamwaters.com/">I Am Waters Foundation</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2rABCdw">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) I Am Waters works to provide access to clean drinking water to the homeless population.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nFtB2BeKaNo" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2rAOXSU">HOPE worldwide</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2rAVSM7">Ronald McDonald House Charities</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2rAJjA8">SIGN Fracture Care International</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/06/wise-giving-wednesday-one-love-manchester-and-charity-concerts/; 6/7/2017 9:31:01 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Face-to-Face Summer Fundraising <p>As we approach the summer season, feel the warmer weather and dream of ice cream scoops on cones, the public will also experience in-person solicitations for charities in many major cities in the U.S. and Canada.&nbsp; Young people with friendly enthusiasm and armed with clip-boards and electronic pads will seek your contributions to help the environment, animals, needy children in foreign lands or cure a disease.&nbsp; While fundraisers don’t expect a donation from everyone, it can sometimes be hard to say no or avoid their approach.&nbsp; And, there is the announced guilty question we often hear about “whether we care about the (fill in the blank) cause” when we pass.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>For young people seeking a job in the summer, this can be hard but rewarding work helping organizations and issues they care about.&nbsp; The hours can be long, however, and one needs to develop a thick skin to overcome rejection and the occasional verbal abuse of mean-spirited pedestrians. &nbsp;The pay arrangements will vary. Some charities may use a type of commission based on the volume of donations obtained while others may involve a flat fee arrangement.&nbsp; A charity may handle these appeals directly or may hire a third party to manage them. Whatever the circumstances, we encourage job applicants to take the time to check out the charity at <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> to verify if they meet the <em><a href="/link/bf08473b31114ffdb14b01e3dd6bc76f.aspx">BBB Charity Standards</a>.&nbsp;</em></p> <p>For those considering making a donation to in-person fundraisers, here are some tips to keep in mind:&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>1. Look for clothing with charity logos</strong>.<strong> &nbsp;</strong>Most face-to-face fundraisers will have clothing with an official charity logo patch or a t-shirt with the charity’s name.</p> <p><strong>2. Ask to see the ID card</strong><b>.&nbsp;</b>Responsible charities also will issue identification cards with a picture of the canvasser along with the charity’s name.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>3. Fact sheets should be available</strong><b>.&nbsp;</b>If requested, fundraisers will generally have fact sheets available that summarize information about the organization and provide instructions about where to find additional details.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>4. Monthly giving arrangements</strong><b>.&nbsp;</b>Many canvassers will encourage more than a one-time gift. They will offer a monthly contribution arrangement that will charge your credit or debit card an agreed monthly amount. &nbsp;This longer term giving circumstance is what makes the solicitation effort worthwhile to the charity.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>5. Remember, it’s okay to say no.&nbsp;</strong>Giving is a personal decision and donors should not feel pressure to make an on-the-spot contribution if they need more time to consider, especially if the request is for a periodic donation throughout the year.&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b></p> <p><strong>6. Report suspicious behavior</strong><b>. &nbsp;</b>Canvassers for charity will usually be young adults over 18 years of age with appropriate identification as mentioned above. &nbsp;Be very cautious about underage fundraisers, without any visible adult supervision, asking for charitable donations.&nbsp;For example, such questionable appeals may take place on public transportation systems, by children claiming to be raising money for sports team uniforms by selling candy bars. &nbsp;Report suspicious behavior to the authorities.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>7. BBB Charity reports are as close as your phone.</strong><b>&nbsp;</b>If you have a smart phone, you are a click away from using <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> to verify the trustworthiness of a charity by finding out if our report indicates they meet the <em><a href="/link/bf08473b31114ffdb14b01e3dd6bc76f.aspx">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a>.&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b></em></p> <hr /> <p>As part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to provide a video of Elana Silber, Executive Director of <a href="http://sharsheret.org/">Sharsheret</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2rbvfNy">BBB Accredited Charity</a>), an organization that supports young Jewish women and families facing breast cancer at every stage.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/VSlY7dxugvg" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2rbt5xc">Junior Achievement USA</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2rbFBgn">National Parkinson Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2rbqtQa">Zero: The End of Prostate Cancer</a></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp;interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/05/wise-giving-wednesday-face-to-face-summer-fundraising/; 5/31/2017 12:51:53 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Fundraising for Manchester <p>Although we have seen other tragedies and disasters in the past year, the terrorist bombing at the Manchester Arena in England&nbsp;has had a significant emotional impact. Many of those killed or wounded were of such a young age, it somehow magnifies the horror and the outpouring of public concern. This is all the more reason for us to caution donors about fundraising to help Manchester victims and their families and to be mindful of suspicious circumstances that often occur in tragedy-related philanthropy. Bad actors are more likely to strike when emotions run high.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>1. Thoughtful Giving. &nbsp;</strong>Take the time to check out fundraising to help Manchester victims to avoid wasting your generosity by donating to a questionable or poorly managed effort. The first request for a donation may not be the best choice. Be proactive and find trusted charities that are providing assistance.</p> <p><strong>2. Crowdfunding Cautions</strong>.<b> &nbsp;</b>Watch out for those seeking to take advantage of high public sympathy by setting up a crowdfunding page that may have no official connection to the family or to any charitable organization.&nbsp;While some crowdfunding sites have procedures to identify questionable efforts, especially after a tragedy, the majority of them do not. &nbsp;Also, crowdfunding sites vary in terms of fees charged for transactions and when funds are made available for the cited cause.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>3. Respecting Victims and Their Families</strong>.<strong> &nbsp;</strong>Organizations or individuals raising funds should get permission from the families to use either the names of the victims and/or any photographs of them.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>4. How Will Donations Be Used? &nbsp;</strong>Watch out for vague appeals that don’t identify the intended use of funds. For example, how will the donations help victims’ families? Also, unless told otherwise, donors will assume that funds collected quickly in the wake of a tragedy will be spent just as quickly. See if the appeal identifies when the collected funds will be used.</p> <p><strong>5. What if a Family Sets Up Its Own Assistance Fund? &nbsp;</strong>Some families may decide to set up their own assistance funds. Be mindful that such funds may not be set up as charities. Also, make sure that collected monies are received and administered by a third party such as a bank, CPA or lawyer. This will help provide oversight and ensure the collected funds are used appropriately (e.g., paying for medical expenses, funeral costs, counseling, and other tragedy-related needs.)</p> <p><strong>6. Charities can be checked.</strong><b> &nbsp;</b>One of the key advantages of giving to an established charity is there are more opportunities to verify their trustworthiness by visiting Give.org to find out if they meet BBB Charity Standards. Also, keep in mind that a charity needs to be based in the U.S. order to be eligible for contributions that are deductible.&nbsp; Despite this, if you are considering giving to a charity located in England, check the U.K. Charity Commissioners via <a href="https://www.gov.uk/find-charity-information">this link</a> to see if they are registered to solicit in the United Kingdom.</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as we approach <strong>Memorial Day</strong>, we encourage donors to also remember those who gave their lives serving in the military. As with any charity donation, we urge givers to do some research before making the contribution by visiting Give.org. Watch out for name confusion, as many veterans charities include virtually the same words in different order.&nbsp; And, look for a clear description of the organization’s programs in its appeals and its website.&nbsp; Also be wary of excessive pressure to make an on-the-spot gift.&nbsp;</p> <p>As part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to provide a video of Melissa Hopson, Vice President of Finance of the <a href="http://www.bootcampaign.org/">Boot Campaign</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2qP97Ik">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which provides assistance to veterans, service members and their families across five initiatives - housing, jobs, wellness, urgent assistance and family support.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rifPgTjYZPI" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2qP5TF0">Lymphatic Education &amp; Research Network</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2qPeIyr">Network for Good</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2qP3lXd">Trevor Project</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/05/wise-giving-wednesday-fundraising-for-manchester/; 5/24/2017 9:53:51 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Hacking Nonprofit Collaboration <p>In partnership with the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR), the BBB Wise Giving Alliance is producing an article series that calls on the nonprofit sector, and others engaged in philanthropy, to embody a new and pioneering spirit of collaboration. Grounded in trust, these partnerships reach broader audiences, share the risk involved in experimentation and accomplish more than any single organization can do alone.&nbsp;</p> <p>Today, May 17<sup>th</sup>, my entry in the <em>Advancing Collaboration</em> article series, titled “Hacking Collaboration,” is live on SSIR’s website and accessible via the following link:&nbsp;<a href="/link/65295b050d2b4a91a8cf35ae0cf1cc42.aspx">http://www.give.org/advancingcollaboration/art-taylor/</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>After reading this piece, we invite you (charities, businesses or donors) to join the movement by entering your name on the <a href="/link/a49fd729c81746d98760d6456f1b12b3.aspx">Advancing Collaboration pledge</a> page which demonstrates a commitment to finding more partners with complementary assets to execute a shared vision. Charities, business or other entities engaged in social good, can pledge to operate with a collaborative spirit that fosters joint action to deliver greater value.&nbsp; Donors can pledge to support collaborative organizations. After signing, you can download a pledge icon to place on your website or social media to encourage others to join as well.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>Additionally, as part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to provide a video of Robin Smalley, Co-Founder and Director of <a href="https://www.m2m.org/">mothers2mothers</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2mtg7W0">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which offers support to HIV-positive pregnant women and new mothers in sub-Saharan Africa.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jUzXRzUwhck" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2rrjHnb">Scholarship America</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2rrgrs3">TeletonUSA Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2rrjOzk">The Trust for Public Land</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp;interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/05/wise-giving-wednesday-hacking-nonprofit-collaboration/; 5/17/2017 1:01:10 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Mississippi Flooding <p>The images are familiar but heart wrenching, a small motor boat glides over waist high waters, passes devastated homes and the roofs of enveloped cars. &nbsp;Several days ago, areas near the Mississippi River suffered from major flooding and weather forecasters expect that water will continue to be at high levels until mid-May.&nbsp; Communities in southern Illinois and those south of the St. Louis area were especially impacted including parts of Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Arkansas Attorney General’s office issued a <a href="https://arkansasag.gov/media-center/news-releases/rutledge-scammers-pose-as-charities-to-help-victims-after-storms-and-flooding/">warning to donors</a> to watch out for con artists raising funds for flood damaged areas. BBB’s <a href="give.org">Give.org</a> agrees with this advice and also encourages those who want to help flood victims to turn to established charities that have experience, facilities, and procedures in place to deal with such tragedies. We suggest that donors keep the following tips in mind as well to help avoid questionable appeals for support:&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">See if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the impacted areas</span></strong>. Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to bring in new aid workers to provide assistance quickly. See if the charity’s website clearly describes what the charity can do to address immediate needs.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups</span></strong>. Some charities may be raising money to pass along to relief organizations. If so, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and giving directly to those that have a presence in the region. Or, at a minimum, check out the ultimate recipients of these donations to see whether they are equipped to provide aid effectively.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Be Cautious about gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations</span></strong>. In-kind drives for food and clothing, while well intentioned, may not necessarily be the quickest way to help those in need – unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid properly. Ask the charity about its transportation and distribution plans. Be wary of those who are not experienced in disaster relief assistance.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Understand crowdfunding</span></strong>. Keep in mind that some crowdfunding sites do very little vetting of individuals who decide to post for assistance after a disaster, and it is often difficult for donors to verify the trustworthiness of crowdfunding requests for support. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>As part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to provide a video of Jennifer Devin Hibbard, Executive Director, <a href="http://www.beadforlife.org/frontpage/us">BeadforLife</a> (a <a>BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which provides opportunities for women living in extreme poverty to start self-sustaining small businesses. The organization reports that it creates chances for women all over the world to fight extreme poverty through the wearing and sharing of its handmade products.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Oo9Yh_R7vy0" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Learn about the <a href="/link/a7dc04ad53164e838d23493ff9a32f1c.aspx">#AdvancingCollaboration</a> series, a partnership between BBB’s Give.org and Stanford Social Innovation Review. Read articles from charity leaders about collaborating to reach common goals and then take the <a href="/link/a49fd729c81746d98760d6456f1b12b3.aspx">pledge</a> to commit to #AdvancingCollaboration as either a donor or a charity.</p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2q2Btyu">Jewish National Fund&nbsp;</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2q2BZfR">Learning Ally</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2q2BPVQ">Yosemite Conservancy</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/05/wise-giving-wednesday-mississippi-flooding/; 5/10/2017 10:03:24 AM Workplace Giving is Target of New Partnership Between BBB Wise Giving Alliance and Community Health Charities <p><strong><br />Arlington, VA </strong>– As charity work gets more public attention, BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB WGA) and Community Health Charities recently joined forces to promote transparency and high standards of conduct among charities, especially in workplace giving campaigns.</p> <p>Through a new agreement with BBB WGA, all of Community Health Charities’ more than 2,000 member charities must submit information for BBB evaluation and are asked to work towards meeting all 20 <em><a href="/link/bf08473b31114ffdb14b01e3dd6bc76f.aspx">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></em>. These standards cover charity governance, finances, fundraising practices, and results reporting. There is no charge to charities for these reviews, and reports are available free of charge on <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> to help individuals verify trust through guidance from a third-party expert evaluator.</p> <p>“We’ve always held the highest standards of vetting and transparency in evaluating our member charities, aligning our standards with the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, which I consider the gold standard,” said Tom Bognanno, president and CEO of Community Health Charities. “This new partnership gives us an opportunity to use these standards to raise awareness about how critical trustworthiness and vetting are for donors, charities, and companies.”</p> <p>“The ability of the charitable sector to function depends on public trust,” said H. Art Taylor, BBB WGA president and CEO. “While there will always be bad actors, promoting thoughtful giving and supporting trustworthy charities can help strengthen the bond between a cause and the public.”</p> <p>BBB WGA urges donors to give thoughtfully by taking the time to look into charities before making a donation. By encouraging charities to be transparent and work towards meeting all 20 BBB Standards for Charitable Accountability, Community Health Charities is helping ensure that companies and employees have access to vetted and trusted health resources, volunteering, and giving opportunities.</p> <hr /> <p><strong>About BBB Wise Giving Alliance:<br /></strong>BBB Wise Giving Alliance&nbsp;(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, results 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&nbsp;<a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">Give.org</a>.</p> <p><strong>About Community Health Charities:<br /></strong>Community Health Charities is a nonprofit that raises awareness and resources for health and wellness by connecting more than 2,000 of the most trusted health charities across the United States with more than 17 million caring employees through workplace giving campaigns, causes, wellness programs, employee engagement, and strategic partnerships. Health has never been such a priority: 77% of U.S. workers suffer from at least one long-term health condition, ranging from cancer to asthma – chances are someone you know is affected.&nbsp; For more information about Community Health Charities, visit <a href="http://www.healthcharities.org/">healthcharities.org</a>, follow @HealthCharities, or call 1-800-654-0845.&nbsp;</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/05/workplace-giving-is-target-of-new-partnership-between-bbb-wise-giving-alliance-and-community-health-charities/; 5/4/2017 12:02:08 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Philanthropy Experts & Leaders Gather in Cape Coral <p>Guest Blog by Michael Chatman, President &amp; CEO, Cape Coral Community Foundation&nbsp;</p> <p>BBB Wise Giving Alliance President &amp; CEO Art Taylor and Cape Coral Community Foundation President &amp; CEO Michael Chatman hosted the <em><strong>Philanthropy Experts and Leaders Academy</strong></em> on April 23 – 25 at the Westin Hotel in Cape Coral, Florida. &nbsp;Art Taylor gave a presentation about how the future can and should be part of thought leadership and brand strategy. Michael Chatman shared how he built #whyigive, the popular global generosity movement on Twitter with over 300,000 followers. The academy was limited to 25 people. It was a nice blend of philanthropy thought-leaders, foundation executives, social entrepreneurs, and CEOs of nonprofit organizations.&nbsp;</p> <p>Other highlights from the gathering of experts and leaders included:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>Mary Wong, President and CEO, Office Depot Foundation, shared her personal story of perseverance and the lessons she’s learned through her 20-year career in corporate social responsibility.</li> <li>Henry Timms, Executive Director of 92<sup>nd</sup> Street Y and Founder, #GivingTuesday, explained how to understand new power and harness its energy – and lessons learned from #GivingTuesday, a global philanthropic movement.</li> <li>Chad Barr, President, The Chad Barr Group, shared his thoughts on how to build a million-dollar web presence. During his presentation, he discussed the critical areas that can be immediately enhanced to emphasize credibility and instantly build trust among visitors.</li> <li>Val Porter-Cook, Leadership Development Advisor, explored why self-awareness is so important when coaching is the best leadership development tool, and how organizations can make strategic and outcome-based investments in that work.</li> <li>Carrie Fox, Founder and President, Mission Partners, ran the audience through a series of thought-provoking exercises designed to help distill an organization’s “why” in a way that inspires others to act.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>The Cape Coral Community Foundation, the global center for generosity, was proud to co-sponsor this event with the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and thanks the speakers and leaders who attended the academy.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>As part of our Building Trust Video series, BBB WGA is pleased to provide a video of David Snell, President and Co-Founder, <a href="https://fullercenter.org/">Fuller Center for Housing</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2oXH7TO">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which is a faith-driven organization that builds new homes and repairs existing homeowner properties in partnership with families in need.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZcbU9IbKgks" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2oXXy2z">International Book Project</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2oXPqik">Marfan Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2oXPqik">Quixote Center</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/05/wise-giving-wednesday-philanthropy-experts-leaders-gather-in-cape-coral/; 5/3/2017 11:13:05 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Matching Gifts Should Match <p>If a child, who already has a bicycle, asks his/her parents for a new flashy model, they might prompt the child to help make that happen: “<i>If you save enough for a third of the cost of the new bike, we’ll take care of the rest</i>.”&nbsp; This simple story is the essence of the matching gift appeal concept in philanthropy.&nbsp; There is a promise made of a future gift, if the charity is able to raise a designated amount.&nbsp;</p> <p>In accounting terms, this is called a conditional gift − a future contribution that is dependent on the gifts of others. As stated in the <i>AICPA Audit &amp; Accounting Guide for Not-for-Profit Entities</i> (2016 edition, paragraph 6.53), “<i>Conditional transfers are not contributions yet; they may become contributions upon the occurrence of one or more future and uncertain events.”</i>&nbsp;</p> <p>Most of us have seen various types of matching gift appeals. For example, a public television station airs a fundraiser that announces that a generous viewer has pledged to match all contributions made during the next fifteen minutes or a direct mail appeal declares that a wealthy donor has pledged to make a $100,000 gift if the charity is able to raise at least an equivalent amount in the campaign. In both cases, there is some uncertainty. For the public station, their total gift tally during a certain time period is difficult to predict and a charity does not have a guarantee that it will be able to raise a certain amount for any direct mail campaign.&nbsp;</p> <p>On occasion, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance has seen circumstances where a charity’s statements during a matching gift fundraiser, do not appear to meet the true definition of a conditional gift, as described above. As an example, a charity sends out an appeal that asks contributors to “match” a specified amount it raised from other donors. This is actually more of a “challenge grant.” The ability to use the original gift is not contingent on raising more money, rather, the original gift is seeking to inspire other givers to repeat the generosity. In such cases, charities need to be careful about what words it uses to describe the circumstance so as not to confuse or potentially mislead donors into believing their gift won’t be “doubled” unless they raise an equivalent amount.&nbsp;</p> <p>So, the next time you see an appeal that claims it is part of a matching gift campaign, look at the appeal carefully and see if it is described as a true conditional gift. &nbsp;If you have any doubt, ask the charity to clarify.&nbsp; Misleading appeals will not meet Standard 15 of the <i><a href="/link/59a9c0fd30004efd85b7094074c85374.aspx">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></i>.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>As part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to provide a video of Monica Woods, Vice President of <a href="http://www.solarcookers.org/">Solar Cookers International</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2q7HfzV">BBB Accredited Charity</a>), an organization that designs and distributes free zero-emission solar thermal cookers worldwide.&nbsp; These cookers help reduce air pollution and serve as an alternative for people who live in extreme poverty.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2IY7ErVxIhU" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:<b>&nbsp;</b></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2q7Hzi7">International Association for Human Values</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2q7OHLo">Mennonite Central Committee</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2q7Cxls">Reef Check Foundation</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/04/wise-giving-wednesday-matching-gifts-should-match/; 4/26/2017 11:12:28 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: If You Don’t Want Charities to Call <p>Many charities raise funds using telemarketing and do so responsibly, but there are others that some donors find annoying for a variety of reasons including the timing and frequency of the phone appeals. If you fall into this group and are seeking ways to reduce your charity telemarketing calls here are some tips to keep in mind.</p> <p>As many of you have probably heard, the Federal Trade Commission maintains a National Do Not Call Registry at <a href="http://www.donotcall.gov">www.donotcall.gov</a>. By signing up and including your phone number, you can certainly reduce the volume of calls from businesses seeking to sell their services and wares, however, the registry does <span style="text-decoration: underline;">not</span> apply to charities. Charities are not required to stop calling people on this Do Not Call listing.&nbsp;</p> <p>If a for-profit telemarketer calls on behalf of a charity, however, you can request that the telemarketer place you on their internal do not call list.&nbsp; From that point on, the firm can no longer call you on behalf of that specific charity, but they can call on behalf of other charity clients. So the key is to be patient and persistent in making that request when you receive a charity call at home. Use the words “place me on your do not call list” and be sure to make note of the time, date, the name of the charity, the name of the telemarketing firm and the phone number they used. If they call again on behalf of that charity, you can file a complaint with FTC at <a href="http://www.ftc.gov">www.ftc.gov</a>.&nbsp; The more info you include in your complaint, the easier it will be for the FTC to identify and target scammers for enforcement actions.&nbsp;</p> <p>Regarding prerecorded calls, FTC rules went into effect in September 2009, “prohibiting most prerecorded telemarketing calls, known as robocalls, unless the telemarketer has the consumer’s prior written authorization to transmit such calls.” This prohibition on robocalls applies to for-profit telemarketing firms calling on behalf of charities.&nbsp; One additional rule that comes into effect as of May 12, 2017 relates to the use of something called “soundboard technology” which enables telemarketing calls to play prerecorded audio snippets in response to consumer questions or comments. &nbsp;This new rule will also apply to telemarketing firms calling on behalf of charities that use this soundboard technology.&nbsp; For further details see the FTC staff opinion letter: <a href="https://www.ftc.gov/policy/advisory-opinions/letter-lois-greisman-associate-director-division-marketing-practices">https://www.ftc.gov/policy/advisory-opinions/letter-lois-greisman-associate-director-division-marketing-practices</a>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>As part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to provide a video of Greg Anglea, Executive Director, of a regional charity, <a href="http://www.interfaithservices.org/">Interfaith Community Services</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2pCnQH1">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) that offers programs in North San Diego that address (a) nutrition &amp; basic needs, (b) employment, (c) housing, (d) addiction and recovery services and (e) self-sufficiency and support services.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/5WJ5sQtevO4" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2pCgvXU">Immune Deficiency Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2pCtHMn">Junior Achievement USA</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2pCrL6x">National Credit Union Foundation</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/04/wise-giving-wednesday-if-you-dont-want-charities-to-call/; 4/19/2017 1:46:59 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Charity Under the Big Top – Circus Fundraising Events <p>Earlier this year, Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus announced their closing after 146 years and are now in their final performances ending sometime in May. Falling ticket sales, criticism from animal rights groups, among other things, led to this result. &nbsp;As reported in <i><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2017/03/29/many-countries-ban-circuses-with-wild-animals-these-lawmakers-want-the-u-s-to-follow-suit/?utm_term=.16e8720c2626">The Washington Post</a> </i>on March 29<sup>th</sup>, while there is no equivalent U.S. federal law, performing animals are banned in many nations in Europe and Mexico and several Latin American countries have also placed restrictions on circus use of animals as well.&nbsp;</p> <p>But don’t think that the Big Top is folding forever, a number of smaller traveling circuses still continue in the United States. Some of these traveling shows have a history of doing performances to benefit charities. For example, the website of one such circus notes that it works with municipalities, service organizations, booster clubs and charities to hold fundraising events. &nbsp;In another instance, a circus reports that it is a charity itself that supports a youth program in South Africa.&nbsp;</p> <p>In past years, for some circus fundraising events, there have been instances of questionable ticket sale marketing particularly on behalf of police and firefighter organizations.&nbsp; Examples of problems include telemarketers that ask businesses to sponsor blocks of tickets with the promise that they will be used for needy children to attend the event when no such arrangements have been made, overselling the number of tickets available for an event, and/or circumstances that result in very little of the money raised going to the specified cause.&nbsp;</p> <p>If approached by a fundraising circus activity, BBB Wise Giving Alliance advises individuals to ask how much of the ticket sales will go to the designated charity and to take the time to verify if the mentioned organization meets the 20 <a href="/link/bf08473b31114ffdb14b01e3dd6bc76f.aspx">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a>. Also, visit the organization’s website to see if the charity is funding the type of programs and activities that you want to support.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>As part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to provide a video of Joshua Rednick, President and CEO, <a href="https://www.diabetesresearch.org/">Diabetes Research Institute Foundation</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2o5FjTi">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which funds basic, re-clinical and patient-based diabetes studies. Key funded research areas include tissue engineering, immune tolerance, regenerative medicine, stem cell research, and nanotechnology to restore biological insulin production.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KnDEDgrtBwk" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:<b>&nbsp;</b></p> <ul> <li><b><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2o5V5NX">Children’s Cancer Research Fund</a></b></li> <li><b><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2o5M87n">Kiwanis Children’s Fund</a></b></li> <li><b><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2o5KAKE">Seeing Eye</a></b><b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp;interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/04/wise-giving-wednesday-charity-under-the-big-top-circus-fundraising-events/; 4/12/2017 11:13:45 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Change for Charities – Rounding Up Your Register Bill <p>On a daily basis, most of us receive charitable appeals of some kind but an increasingly popular one is the request to round up your bill at the supermarket or other store register and agree to donate your change to a specified charity.&nbsp; A 2015 study completed by <a href="http://engageforgood.com/americas-checkout-charity-champions/">Engage for Good</a> (formerly Cause Marketing Forum) shows that checkout charity giving generated $390 million in 2014 by a group of 77 charities.&nbsp; In turn, a 2015 online study conducted by <a href="http://engageforgood.com/2016-catalist-revelations-at-the-register/">Catalist</a> showed that 66% of respondents donated at the register within the previous two months. &nbsp;</p> <p>But the donation option is expanding far beyond the grocery store.&nbsp;Round-It-Up America offers a platform that enables participating restaurants to offer customers to round up their bill for charity.&nbsp; As reported in <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/news/why-so-many-companies-are-rounding-up-your-spare-change-123811455.html">Yahoo! Finance</a> on April 1<sup>st</sup>, the taxi app Lyft took out a full-page ad in the <i>New York Times</i> to announce its <i>Round Up &amp; Donate</i> program that will enable its customers to contribute to various causes when they pay for their ride.</p> <p>You are likely to see even more of this change for charities option in the future. In part, this is being fueled by the recent release of various apps that are enabling almost any retailer to offer round up charity giving options when consumers pay for their items or services. Other apps let individuals automatically round up their credit card purchase and contribute the amount to their selected charity without requiring the retailer to be engaged at all.</p> <p>As the round-up charity options expand, we offer the following tips to help consumers/donors decide whether to participate.</p> <ol> <li>Charity round-up options do not operate in the same way. For example, some of the newer apps only enable selected charities to receive the donation. In other instances, the app may only release funds to a charity when&nbsp; purchases result in a gift that reaches a certain level, such as $5. And, the app may charge fees for the donation transaction as well.</li> <li>Remember that charities still need your direct support through other means, this is just one option. In turn, such transactions often don’t result in the charity being able to follow-up with contributors or develop a longer term relationship. For that, they would need your email, phone or address.&nbsp; On the other hand, some donors appreciate the anonymity of making a gift by contributing their change.</li> <li>Don’t assume the retailer or the app has vetted the designated charities.&nbsp; Once again, it is ultimately up to the donor to take the time to verify the trustworthiness of the selected charity.&nbsp; Visit Give.org to find out if the organization meets the 20 <a href="/link/bf08473b31114ffdb14b01e3dd6bc76f.aspx">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a>.</li> <li>Be wary of excessive pressure to donate, even at the checkout register. Don’t feel obligated to say yes. If interested, you can always donate on your next visit, after you had a chance to find out more.</li> </ol><hr /> <p>As part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to provide a video of Rob Butcher, CEO of <a href="http://www.swimacrossamerica.org/">Swim Across America</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2nb4EQf">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which holds open water, pool, and virtual swims across the US in order to raise money to support cancer research, prevention and treatment.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/IRUJGl6mfGM" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on our website search engine. We will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/04/wise-giving-wednesday-change-for-charities-rounding-up-your-register-bill/; 4/5/2017 10:56:14 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Charitable Weddings <p>With the start of spring and warmer weather also comes thoughts of weddings and other planned happy events. &nbsp;As reported in the <i><a href="http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/life-and-relationships/after-her-broken-engagement-one-womans-reception-is-set-to-impact-hundreds-of-lives-20170314-guxn3g">Sydney Morning Herald</a></i> on March 17, 2017, however, one 24-year old young lady faced a broken engagement and a canceled April 8<sup>th</sup> wedding reception that already had a no-return deposit. Instead of facing a depressing circumstance, she made a rather generous <i>lemonade</i> by converting the canceled wedding reception into a five-course charity ball to benefit an organization that helps people out of poverty. As she was quoted in the <i>Herald</i>, “There are women in different socioeconomic situations overseas that often don’t have the same freedom to say ‘<i>no’ </i>to marrying Mr. Wrong<i>….”</i> &nbsp;When they found out about what happened, florists and other hired services offered reduced fees. The new charity fundraiser takes place in a few weeks and is generating attention and contributions.&nbsp;</p> <p>This story is certainly inspiring and demonstrates how personal heartbreak can be turned into a wonderful opportunity to help others. This wedding-charity connection is also showing up in other circumstances. <i>The New York Times</i> ran a story a few days ago, “<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/24/your-money/charities-wedding-registries.html?_r=0">For Those Who Have It All, Charitable Wedding Registries</a>,” that noted that some wedding couples are offering invited guests the option of making donations to a specified charity instead of bringing wedding gifts. Of course, choosing a charity that everyone will want to support may be a significant factor in how much money may be raised in this manner.&nbsp;</p> <p>Some believe that giving to charity is often an emotionally-motivated decision. If so, a wedding celebration appears to provide a welcome connection of expressing good thoughts about others. Even in such circumstances, we encourage couples, before they say “I do,” to make sure to check out the trustworthiness of the selected benefiting charity by visiting <a href="http://Give.org">Give.org</a> to verify if they meet the 20 <a href="/link/bf08473b31114ffdb14b01e3dd6bc76f.aspx">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a>.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>As part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to provide a video of Ranjani Saigal, Executive Director of the <a href="https://www.ekal.org/">Ekal Vidalaya Foundation of USA</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2o7eQJ3">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which runs single-teacher multi-grade schools in 53,000 remote rural villages in India. The schools teach literacy, numeracy, provide health awareness, civic awareness, and financial literacy.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/c3zBF9J5Bko" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:<b>&nbsp;</b></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2o77h5l">American Friends of UNRWA Association</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2o70Wa7">Bible League International</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2o6YK21">Big Life Foundation USA&nbsp;</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/03/wise-giving-wednesday-charitable-weddings/; 3/29/2017 9:49:37 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Fighting Future Fundraising Fraud <p>Yesterday in Washington, DC, &nbsp;the Federal Trade Commission held its first charity conference: <a href="https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/events-calendar/2017/03/give-take-consumers-contributions-charity">Give &amp; Take: Consumers, Contributions and Charity</a>. Both Bennett Weiner (BBB WGA’s Chief Operating Officer) and I were honored to participate on separate panel discussions that addressed various issues about safeguarding donors from fraud and deception. There were a variety of speakers at this event including those with backgrounds from academia, the federal and state regulatory community, crowdfunding sites, infrastructure organizations, nonprofit legal experts as well as charity monitoring groups such as BBB WGA.</p> <p>In part, BBB WGA seeks to educate the public about deceptive fundraising practices by sharing <a href="http://give.org/for-donors/about-specific-giving-guidance/">wise giving advice</a> as well as by completing evaluative reports based on the 20 <a href="/link/bf08473b31114ffdb14b01e3dd6bc76f.aspx">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a>. These holistic standards, however, address more than just deception and also include provisions about good governance practices, transparency, results reporting and financial management.</p> <p>In my view, one of the most important elements of this gathering was the insights on the emerging challenges facing both donors and regulators in the future. In years to come, new forms of social media and communication will emerge such as applications of virtual reality which put viewers “in the scene” instead of just seeing a photo or video. This has the potential to create emotional fundraising asks that go far beyond what we have ever experienced. In turn, crowdfunding is evolving into forums that seek to help individuals not only raise money for immediate needs but also on a continuing basis. Regulators should gear up to this challenge and may need to seek outside collaborations to develop the skills and tools that will help them catch bad actors in these spaces.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>March is colon cancer awareness month, and we are pleased to provide a video of Nicole Sheahan, Chief Development Officer of <a href="https://www.ccalliance.org/">Colon Cancer Alliance</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2n78jLt">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which works to unite patients, caregivers, health care providers, cancer researchers, policymakers, and concerned citizens in a campaign to eradicate colorectal cancer. The organization also seeks to advocate effective screening, diagnoses, treatment and support for research. March is colon cancer awareness month.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2OvaLHBfKUE" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:<b>&nbsp;</b></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2n7k44D">Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2n7dxXJ">New Venture Fund</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2mm7UGe">Seeing Eye</a></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/03/wise-giving-wednesday-fighting-future-fundraising-fraud/; 3/22/2017 10:03:36 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Fundraising Photos <p>Several days ago, a <a href="http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2017/03/04/brooklyn-couple-arrested-in-theft-of-ailing-5-year-old-boys-photo-for-charity-scam/">CBS story</a> reported that a couple in New York was arrested for allegedly using social media and other communications to defraud donors by raising money using a picture of a boy fighting cancer.&nbsp; This reminds all of us of the need to be vigilant in verifying charitable requests before making a gift.&nbsp; Sometimes photographs can stir our sympathetic emotions to get us to contribute without ensuring that our generosity will indeed be used for the purpose identified.&nbsp;</p> <p>It also points to the advantages of contributing to an established charity, as opposed to an individual seeking help.&nbsp; A charity can be vetted in terms of (1) its proper registration with state government authorities (about 40 of the 50 states in the U.S. have such state agencies which are usually a division of the State Attorney General’s office or the Secretary of State) and (2) by visiting Give.org to verify if they meet the 20 <a href="/link/bf08473b31114ffdb14b01e3dd6bc76f.aspx">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a>.&nbsp; However, it is much more difficult to determine if an individual posting a personal financial request is telling the truth.&nbsp;</p> <p>In terms of phony requests for help, the public needs to be especially careful after a disaster or tragedy when people may be using names and photos of victims without the families’ permission. And when visiting crowdfunding websites, remember that not all sites operate in the same way in terms of how much checking takes place before people post requests for help. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>They say “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but the false use of a photo might be summed up in one word: con.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to provide a video of Dorothy Poppe, Executive Director, <a href="http://csfinfo.org/">Chiari &amp; Syringomyelia Foundation</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2mteoA7">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which seeks to advance knowledge through research and to educate the medical, allied sciences, and lay community about Chiari malformation, syringomyelia and related disorders.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/h6rNI4uEang" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2mtlKU4">Mercy Multiplied</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2mtlKU4">Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2mtg7W0">Mothers2mothers International</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/03/wise-giving-wednesday-fundraising-photos/; 3/15/2017 2:54:18 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: International Women’s Day <p>Today, March 8<sup>th</sup>, is <a href="https://www.internationalwomensday.com/About">International Women’s Day</a> which is a “global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.”&nbsp; It has been observed since the early 1900s and has grown in popularity over the years due to increased public attention about women’s equality issues.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Women also have a significant role in philanthropy as well. As reported in the <a href="http://www.thenonprofittimes.com/news-articles/studies-examine-men-vs-women-in-giving/">NonProfit Times</a> in 2015, research completed by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Foundation School of Philanthropy found that women are more likely to give to charities than their male counterparts across generations and “are more likely to spread their giving across more organizations, while men concentrate their giving.”&nbsp; These findings are not surprising to us. &nbsp;In BBB WGA’s experience, we generally receive more inquiries about charities from women than men.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>So, one way to honor International Women’s Day is to follow their lead in supporting charities.&nbsp; Of course, we also urge donors to visit <a href="http://Give.org">Give.org</a> to verify if the selected charities meet the 20 <a href="/link/bf08473b31114ffdb14b01e3dd6bc76f.aspx">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a>.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a related note, as part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to provide a video that features Jennifer Windsor, CEO of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.womenforwomen.org/">Women for Women International</a>&nbsp;(a&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/1p8h9Io">BBB Accredited Charity</a>).&nbsp; This organization was founded twenty years ago to help the most marginalized of women in conflict affected countries to rebuild their lives.&nbsp; The heart of their program is a 12-month training program that helps provide basic skills such as economic, literacy and knowledge of health and basic rights. &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2jGr6QB1fKo" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2mm7Mqe">Kiwanis Children’s Fund</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2mmdHvD">New Venture Fund</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2mm7UGe">Seeing Eye</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/03/wise-giving-wednesday-international-womens-day/; 3/8/2017 1:12:32 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: And the Oscar® Goes To…Charity Ribbons <p>As a symbol of achievement in the movie industry and perhaps worldwide, the Oscars are probably one of the most recognized awards given out today. While there is no equivalent in philanthropy, it is interesting to note that one connection to charity in this year’s awards ceremony is the appearance of the <a href="http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/aclu-blue-ribbons-2017-oscars-red-carpet-979073">blue ribbon</a>, representing support for the American Civil Liberties Union, on the dresses and lapels of many of the celebrities attending the event.&nbsp; That subtle but visible, cloth attachment quickly communicates with the public about a cause without saying a word.&nbsp;</p> <p>Over the years, different color ribbons have become a staple of charity messaging. It is hard to know when it all got started, but in my younger years, I remember Tony Orlando’s 1973 pop hit, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree” which many interpreted as a symbol for a loved one who would be welcomed home after a long absence, especially the military. Soon the yellow ribbon became a universal symbol of support for active service members and their families and today, is incorporated for use by many veterans and military service organizations.&nbsp;</p> <p>And of course, most of us have seen the pink ribbon, an awareness symbol of the breast cancer cause, that is used by many charities seeking to find a cure or assist those afflicted with this disease. &nbsp;And, then there is the red ribbon representing HIV/AIDS awareness. Other colors have filled out this ribbon rainbow to bring public attention to various campaigns and I am sure additional ones will be created over time.&nbsp;</p> <p>Ribbon awareness can certainly help in charity outreach, but the public needs to be cautious when such symbols appear on retail products without any disclosure indicating how their purchase will benefit the cause. See <a href="/link/59a9c0fd30004efd85b7094074c85374.aspx">BBB Charity Standard 19</a> for information on the recommended disclosures for cause-related marketing.&nbsp;</p> <p>Whatever charity ribbon you decide to wear proudly, remember to also take the time to verify if the sponsoring organization also meets the <a href="/link/59a9c0fd30004efd85b7094074c85374.aspx">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a>.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to provide a video of Fran Solomon, Founder and President of <a href="https://healgrief.org/">HealGrief</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2m8ByPV">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which offers virtual, online support for bereaved individuals.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FICu07P56tg" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2m8mfGI">Myositis Association</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2m8s8Uw">National Fallen Firefighters Association</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2m8msd6">USA Cares</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/03/wise-giving-wednesday-and-the-oscar-goes-to-charity-ribbons/; 3/1/2017 10:38:38 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: IRS “Dirty Dozen” List Includes Fake Charity Warning <p>For a number of years, the Internal Revenue Service has come out with its annual “<a href="https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/irs-summarizes-dirty-dozen-list-of-tax-scams-for-2017">Dirty Dozen</a>” list of tax scams to help people avoid schemes that may impact them during tax filing season. This year “fake charities” came up as number five, moving up one notch from last year’s entry. As stated in an <a href="https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/fake-charities-on-the-irs-dirty-dozen-list-of-tax-scams-for-2017">IRS press release</a> featuring IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, “Fake charities set up by scam artists to steal your money or personal information are a recurring problem. Taxpayers should take the time to research charities before giving their hard-earned money.”&nbsp;</p> <p>If a donor is claiming a charitable deduction on their federal income tax, it is important to make sure that the subject organization is eligible to receive gifts that are deductible as charitable gifts.&nbsp; One can verify this by using the IRS Exempt Organization <a href="https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/exempt-organizations-select-check">Select Check</a> directory which identifies organizations that are tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. When using this directly, it is important to have the exact official name of the organization or, if available, the organization’s Employer Identification Number (EIN.)&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Even experienced contributors can make a mistake, by giving to a questionable appeal, especially following a major disaster, when donors might give with their hearts without using their heads. While it is unlikely for someone to recover such lost contributions, one can at least avoid doubling the error by claiming a charitable deduction for a fake charity that can lead to an incorrect tax return and potential further trouble.&nbsp;</p> <p>BBB Wise Giving Alliance also encourages donors to verify that the subject charity is registered to solicit charitable contributions in their state. About 40 states have a state government charity registration agency that is usually a division of the state’s office of the Attorney General or the Secretary of State.&nbsp;</p> <p>One caveat to remember is that houses of worship are not required to apply to the IRS for charitable tax exempt status and are also exempt from registering with state government agencies.&nbsp; So, don’t dismay if your church around the corner does not appear in the IRS Select Check directory.&nbsp;</p> <p>In addition, in this time of rising cyber security concerns, one should be especially watchful for any appeal that requests personal information such as Social Security numbers, passwords, or other data that could be used to steal identities.&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course, we also remind donors they can help verify charity trustworthiness by visiting <a href="http://Give.org">Give.org</a> to see if the subject charity meets the 20 <a href="/link/bf08473b31114ffdb14b01e3dd6bc76f.aspx">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a>.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to provide a video of Nadine Dehgan, Chief Executive Officer, <a href="http://hearinghealthfoundation.org/">Hearing Health Foundation</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2mcl9HJ">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which seeks to prevent and cure hearing loss by funding research and promoting hearing health.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/sYl-at2mCkE" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2mcht8H">African Wildlife Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2mc3dwC">National 4-H Council</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2mc6PyK">Young Life</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/02/wise-giving-wednesday-irs-dirty-dozen-list-includes-fake-charity-warning/; 2/22/2017 10:53:33 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Animal Charities & Classification <p>In high school biology, most of us learn about the taxonomy classification system, first introduced in the 18<sup>th</sup> century, that uses a ranking hierarchy to identify every creature on the earth starting with the broad categories of domain and kingdom and eventually ending with genus and species. &nbsp;Although the history of the charitable sector dates back even earlier, its classification system is of more recent origin. &nbsp;The <a href="http://nccs.urban.org/classification/national-taxonomy-exempt-entities">National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities</a> (NTEE) was initially developed in the 1980s by the National Center for Charitable Statistics which is currently part of the <a href="http://www.urban.org/policy-centers/center-nonprofits-and-philanthropy">Urban Institute</a>. &nbsp;While both of these classification systems are very different, they serve a similar objective – to bring order to a field that has wide diversity. Like the animal kingdom, philanthropy covers so many different entities. The NTEE system includes over 26 codes representing everything from the arts and culture to youth development. And, each of these codes is further broken down into a dozen or more categories.&nbsp;</p> <p>For example, the NTEE codes for <a href="http://nccsweb.urban.org/PubApps/nteeSearch.php?returnElement=&amp;popup=0&amp;code=D&amp;codeType=NTEE">animal related organizations</a> (labeled as category D) is defined as “nonprofit organizations whose primary purpose is to provide care, protection and control of wildlife and domestic animals that are a part of the living environment, to help people develop an understanding of their pets, and to train animals for the purpose of showing.” After this very broad definition, the category is further broken down into such areas as:</p> <ul> <li>D01 - Advocacy groups that seek to influence public policy</li> <li>D05- &nbsp;Research Institutes</li> <li>D20 - Animal Protection and Welfare</li> <li>D30 - Wildlife Preservation and Protection</li> <li>D30 - Wildlife Sanctuaries</li> <li>D50 - Zoos and Aquariums</li> <li>D61 - Animal Training</li> <li>And more.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Despite this comprehensive cataloging, our experience in reporting on soliciting charities has taught us that it can be difficult to identify the specific type of animal-related charity based solely on its name. Yet, donors do this each and every day, and may come to mistaken conclusions about what charity activities they are supporting.&nbsp; This is all the more reason for contributors to read appeals carefully and go to the charity’s website to learn more details about the organization. Animal-related charities are one of the most asked about areas of donor interest at BBB WGA. &nbsp;And of course, we encourage donors to also visit <a href="http://Give.org">Give.org</a> to verify the trustworthiness of the charity by seeing if they meet the 20 <a href="http://give.org/charity-reviews/national/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a>.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p><span>On a related note, as part of our Building Trust Video series, we ar</span>e pleased to provide a video of Priscilla Ma, Executive Director, <a href="https://www.worldanimalprotection.us.org/">World Animal Protection</a>, (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2kK6phR">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which collaborates with governments and international agencies on its four main program areas: stopping animals being cruelly traded, trapped, abused or killed; stopping farm animal suffering; safeguarding animals and the lives of the people who depend on them in disasters; and stopping the killing of dogs worldwide.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/J7u1jGyjsao" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2kK5z4H">Pan African Sanctuary Alliance</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2kKcevH">Partnership with Native Americans</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2kKbtD1">Wounded Warrior Project</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp;interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/02/wise-giving-wednesday-animal-charities-classification/; 2/15/2017 11:18:28 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Charities Fighting Poverty <p>Even though charity is quite broad in the scope of activities falling under its definition, when we hear the word “charity,” most of us first think of helping those in need.&nbsp; At its core, that objective is about fighting poverty, which by its nature, is a complex issue that is impacted by a range of contributing factors.&nbsp; To some, it might be unemployment or the ability to make ends meet in minimum wage jobs.&nbsp; To others, it’s about the challenges of illiteracy or the lack of adequate education. While the list of potential causes is almost endless, we are encouraged by the promise of assistance that so many charities provide in communities across the country and around the globe.&nbsp;</p> <p>No one organization can address all the ills that poverty brings, but charities devoted to this mission do their part to help alleviate some of poverty’s persistent problems, one person at a time, through a variety of means:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>Malnutrition:&nbsp; Food banks, meal delivery services, and other food distribution organizations help provide access to adequate nutrition for individuals as well as their families</li> <li>Unemployment: Job training programs help prepare individuals for new careers</li> <li>Education: Literacy programs range from children’s book distributions to teaching programs helping incarcerated adults</li> <li>Health: Health care access programs reach out to those who are unable to afford the care they need</li> <li>Homelessness: From homeless shelters to soup kitchens, a range of organizations are seeking to help the homeless population each day&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>In turn, no one donor can solve poverty by an individual gift, but one can make informed choices by making sure the organization’s program activities are clearly described on both their websites and in appeals. And, by visiting <a href="http://Give.org">Give.org</a>, one can verify the trustworthiness of the charity by seeing if they meet the 20 <a href="http://give.org/charity-reviews/national/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a>.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a related noted, as part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to provide a video of David Barringer, CEO, <a href="http://www.svdpusa.org/">National Council of the U.S. Society of St. Vincent de Paul</a> (a <a href="/link/6de9897c2d424957b59b576f71b6ee8d.aspx?epsremainingpath=national/religious/national-council-of-the-us-society-of-st-vincent-de-paul-in-maryland-heights-mo-510">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which seeks to help millions of people each year through home visits, housing assistance, disaster relief, job training, food pantries, clothing, care for the elderly, and other charitable activities.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/XL9M3Y8nxYE" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/2k32tgb">Alaska Conservation Foundation</a></li> <li>&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/2k30mca">Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund</a></li> <li>&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/2k2RqDn">Truth for Life</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/02/wise-giving-wednesday-charities-fighting-poverty/; 2/8/2017 10:21:33 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: New Report on Wounded Warrior Project <p>Last year, we posted a blog about Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) explaining that, in the face of various public allegations and the departure of senior WWP executives, we had to reopen our evaluation on this organization.&nbsp; Today, we are pleased to post our <a title="Wounded Warrior Project" href="http://go.bbb.org/2kSd6SS">revised report&nbsp;</a> on the charity. The report concludes that WWP meets all 20 of the <a href="http://give.org/for-charities/How-We-Accredit-Charities/"><i>BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</i></a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>In completing this new evaluation, BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB WGA) considered, among other things, the manner in which WWP manages certain aspects of its programs, finances, governance and fundraising. &nbsp;We received detailed information from WWP about the matters raised in media reports, obtained answers to numerous questions, and reviewed extensive materials and exhibits. On two occasions, our team held in-person meetings with WWP staff members and also had discussions with its Board Chair and a representative of the firm that conducted an independent third party review of WWP operations. &nbsp;</p> <p>Let’s be clear, last year was one that WWP would like to erase.&nbsp; In the midst of crisis, it’s easy to shut down communications with third parties and hope things blow over.&nbsp; Over the years, we have encountered charities in the spotlight that became less transparent and made it difficult to verify if they met standards.&nbsp; In contrast, WWP cooperated fully by providing details and clarifications that led to the conclusions shown in the report we issued, which offers a lesson. &nbsp;If a charity is open, willing to share more information about its circumstances, and make any needed adjustments, what was a challenging situation can end in a positive result. The new leadership at WWP will face challenges regaining the public trust but being open and transparent is a great start toward that end.</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide a video featuring Linda Boucard, Director of Public Relations,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.fonkoze.org/">Fonkoze USA&nbsp;</a>(a&nbsp;<a title="Fonkoze USA" href="http://go.bbb.org/2l0yWj6">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which serves as a microfinance and poverty alleviation organization in Haiti and has over 65,000 loan recipients and provides other financial services.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/G3K3F0NaNwA" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving.&nbsp;</p> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/02/wise-giving-wednesday-new-report-on-wounded-warrior-project/; 2/1/2017 3:04:51 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Advocacy Organizations in the Spotlight <p>Whether it’s gun control, abortion, civil rights, environmental issues and other causes, some organizations engaged in advocacy issues are reporting a spike in contributions in recent weeks as reported in <i>The Chronicle of Philanthropy</i>. While it is too early to tell if this is a short term or long term phenomenon, advocacy groups will likely do their best to help maintain and grow this interest. &nbsp;No matter which side of the political aisle you reside, here are some tips to consider before you get out your checkbook or type your credit card number on a donation page.</p> <ol> <li><strong>501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4)?</strong><b>&nbsp;&nbsp; </b>Some advocacy groups are tax exempt as charitable organizations under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.&nbsp; In many cases, they are engaged in educational activities that fall under the scope of the IRS definition of charity. Contributions to such groups are generally just as deductible as gifts to other charities.&nbsp; On the other hand, some advocacy organizations are tax exempt under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code which is the section that defines civic leagues and other organizations engaged in promoting social welfare. While it is okay to donate to 501(c)(4) organizations, contributions to them are not deductible as charitable gifts.</li> <li><strong>Can a charity be engaged in lobbying activities?&nbsp;</strong> As reported on the IRS website, “In general, no organization may qualify for section 501(c)(3) status if a <strong>substantial</strong> part of its activities is attempting to influence legislation…Organizations may however, involve themselves in issues of public policy without the activity being considered as lobbying” – for example, educational meetings. However, the IRS allows 501(c)(3) organizations to conduct some lobbying activities according to a formula outlined in <a href="https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/measuring-lobbying-activity-expenditure-test">Section 501(h)</a> of the Internal Revenue Code which is based on the size of the organization.&nbsp; In contrast, 501(c)(4) organizations can engage in unlimited lobbying but such activities must help advance its tax-exempt purpose.</li> <li><strong>Accuracy and advocacy. &nbsp;</strong>Sometimes advocacy organizations&nbsp;send out direct mail appeals that request recipients to sign a petition and return it with a check. If so, read the appeal carefully to see how the petition will be used and if the contents are specific enough to influence the targeted recipient. In some cases, petitions may be used to encourage donations rather than change minds.</li> <li><strong>Charity advocacy and trust.</strong>&nbsp; Of course, if the advocacy group is tax exempt as a 501(c)(3) organization, visit Give.org to verify if it meets the 20 <i><a href="/link/bf08473b31114ffdb14b01e3dd6bc76f.aspx">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></i>.</li> </ol><hr /> <p>On a related note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video featuring &nbsp;Dr. Michael Jacobsen, Executive Director of&nbsp;<a href="https://cspinet.org/">Center for Science in the Public Interest</a>, (a&nbsp;<a>BBB Accredited Charity</a>).&nbsp;The Center seeks to conduct research and advocacy programs in health and nutrition&nbsp;and to provide consumers with current, useful information about their health and well-being.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/QT5dGTJctVA" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2jRqhjI">iDE-International Development Enterprises</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2jRqhjI">Land Trust Alliance</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2jRtAaB">Step Up for Students</a></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/01/wise-giving-wednesday-advocacy-organizations-in-the-spotlight/; 1/25/2017 9:33:52 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: A Lesson from Martin Luther King Jr. Day <p>In looking back at the Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day we just celebrated on January 16th, I am reminded that we honor Dr. King not only in regards to his legacy on civil rights&nbsp;but also for his encouragement for giving.&nbsp; As noted in the blog posted Monday by the <a href="http://www.cof.org/blogs/re-philanthropy/2017-01-13/day-not-day-serving-your-community-mlk-day">Council on Foundations</a>, we are urged to think of MLK Day as a “Day On, Not a Day Off” which quotes Dr. King as concluding, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”&nbsp;</p> <p>So, if MLK Day inspires us to service, how can we best take on this task, not just for one day, but as more of a commitment to service throughout the year?&nbsp; An article in <em><a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2017/01/15/for-mlk-day-heres-how-to-start-mentoring-a-young-person/#7bad2e656388">Forbes</a></em> makes the helpful suggestion of mentoring a young person.&nbsp; There are a number of charitable programs that involve assisting young people which can range from a couple of hours a month to longer programs depending on the interests and availability of volunteers.&nbsp; In addition, the website of the Corporation for National and Community Service includes a search engine titled “<a href="https://www.serve.gov/search-volunteer-opportunities">United We Serve</a>” that enables visitors to locate volunteer opportunities in their area.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="https://www.independentsector.org/resource/the-value-of-volunteer-time/">Independent Sector</a> (a leadership network for nonprofits, foundations, and corporations committed to advancing the common good) previously stated that 62.8 million Americans or 25.3 percent of the adult population, gave 7.9 billion hours of volunteer service worth $184 million in 2014.&nbsp; Americans are clearly generous in giving their time to charities. As suggested in a previous <em><a href="/link/6205a9aee20e4573b26daad4ae202efc.aspx">Wise Giving Guide</a></em> cover story on volunteering, however, potential donors are encouraged to find out, among other things, what charities expect of their volunteers, whether the volunteer work involves special skills or training, and whether the volunteer position involves a long term commitment.&nbsp;</p> <p>As donors consider Dr. King’s question of what they are doing for others, we also hope they will take the time to verify the trustworthiness of the organization by seeing if the charity meets the 20 <i><a href="/link/bf08473b31114ffdb14b01e3dd6bc76f.aspx">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></i>.<i>&nbsp;</i></p> <hr /> <p>On a related note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide a video featuring Nancy Kelly, MHS, Executive Director of&nbsp;<a href="https://hvousa.org/">Health Volunteers Overseas&nbsp;</a>(HVO) (a&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/2jLzsBK">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which seeks to improve the availability and quality of health care through education, training and professional development of the health workforce in resource-scarce countries. The organization reports that each year, health professionals complete more than 500 HVO volunteer assignments, contributing over 7,000 days of volunteer service at more than 80 HVO project sites around the world.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xWGQXiqyAAA" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2jLvpVW">JBI International</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2jLnGHs">National 4-H Council</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2jLruZb">Return to Freedom</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/01/wise-giving-wednesday-a-lesson-from-martin-luther-king-jr.-day/; 1/18/2017 1:21:23 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Charity as a “Going Concern” <p>In the business world, there is a concept in accounting that is called “going concern” which assumes that a business entity will continue to exist in the future. This same concept applies to not-for-profit organizations as well.&nbsp; Outside auditors, however, when carrying out their activities when preparing a charity’s financial statements, may conclude there is substantial doubt about the organization’s ability to continue and will accordingly express this concern in the opinion and/or notes of the audited financial statements.&nbsp;</p> <p>Some may think this issue only emerges just when a charity’s liabilities exceed its assets and the organization has little cash on hand. This can, however, sometimes be a more complicated circumstance to consider. As explained in &nbsp;Section 2.125 of the <i>Audit and Accounting Guide for Not-for-Profit Entities</i> (produced by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, AICPA, March 2016 edition,) &nbsp;examples of conditions that could lead to a going concern notation, include, but are not limited to:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>A high ratio of fund raising expenses to contributions received</li> <li>Insufficient resources to meet donor restrictions</li> <li>Concerns expressed by state authorities regarding alleged violations of state laws</li> <li>External events that could affect donors’ motivations to continue to contribute</li> <li>A loss of major funding sources&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>On the other hand, the fact that a going concern issue has been identified does not necessarily mean that a charity will soon cease operations. The charity’s board of directors in conjunction with management can develop plans to offset this issue by taking appropriate measures, although they may be painful. Examples include&nbsp;a reduction of paid staff and other expense reduction actions. Or, it may develop alternative fund raising strategies if a major source of funding, such as government grants, has stopped for some reason.&nbsp;</p> <p>One recent example that came to the attention of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance is a charity that went into severe debt with a fundraising company due to the fact that the charity’s contributions were not sufficient to cover the amounts due to this company, which unfortunately was a multi-year contract. One of the lessons here is to carefully consider the risk associated with engaging in a large multi-year agreement that could raise problems if the hired firm is not successful.&nbsp; The specifics of the termination clause in such contracts is key in helping the charity exit a circumstance before it overtakes them.&nbsp;</p> <p>Strong internal control procedures and an active finance committee on the charity’s governing board can help a charity avoid potential financial problems. Some of the caution signs to watch out for include: several years of net losses, lack of adequate accounting systems to track expenses, too many outstanding loans, and government grants and/or contracts that do not fully cover all of the costs incurred in carrying out an activity.</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building trust video series, we are pleased to provide our short interview with Joshua Tripp, COO &amp; CFO of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.grameenfoundation.org/">Grameen Foundation&nbsp;</a>(a&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/2ikvl0D">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which helps the world’s poor by providing financial services, information on agriculture and health, and helps poverty-focused organizations improve their operations by providing mobile-based management tools and other technology resources.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Pu2tDNNI1x8" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2ik6c6y">ALS Association</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2ikjeB2">National Emergency Medicine Association</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2ikiKKZ">WildAid</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/01/wise-giving-wednesday-charity-as-a-going-concern/; 1/11/2017 12:43:17 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: A New Year and New Giving Opportunities <p>As we begin the new year, many of us make resolutions to make improvements both to help our own lives as well as our loved ones. We might also take this time to recognize the opportunity to help improve our philanthropic choices as well. Organizations rely on donor generosity to carry out their work throughout the year, not just during the giving season. In this spirit, here are some ideas that might assist you in getting a good start on giving in 2017:&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Reactive vs. Proactive Giving. </strong></p> <p>Many donors wait until they are asked by a soliciting organization to donate or base their decision on recommendations made by family members, friends or business acquaintances. Then, of course, we respond to disasters and tragedies that motivate us to help in some way by contributing to charities providing relief assistance. One other approach to consider is to seek out charities at your own initiative and take the time to identify and research the causes and groups that you care about the most.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Be Wary of Overly Emotional Pleas.</strong></p> <p>When a circumstance pushes our emotional buttons, we feel compelled to respond immediately. Whether it’s a mass shooting or a devastating tornado, the donor response is quick and sometimes overwhelming. It’s certainly understandable to transform our empathy into a charitable contribution, but we must also remember in 2017 to not let emotions overrule our good sense.&nbsp; Check out relief organizations before you make a gift, don’t let the emotion of the moment result in being taken by a questionable solicitor.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Small Gifts or Larger Contributions?</strong></p> <p>While charities don’t expect a donation from every single individual who receives their appeals, some donors are compelled to provide smaller donations spread out among many organizations. In contrast, others might be more selective in their charitable choices and will make larger contributions to a select group of charities. BBB WGA is sometimes asked which approach is better?&nbsp; It really is a personal decision for the contributor.&nbsp; No matter how many charities a donor supports, we hope s/he will remember to check out each charity before a gift is sent.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Single or Monthly Donations?</strong></p> <p>The option to donate monthly is a popular one among a number of charities since it can help some donors spread out their generosity and make a larger cumulative gift. It’s okay for donors to choose that alternative but they should not be pressured into making that decision. If a donor feels they are being pushed, best to walk away and take the time to make sure about that commitment.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Giving to Trusted Charities.</strong></p> <p>Of course, in all giving scenarios, we urge donors to always verify the trustworthiness of charities by checking our reports on Give.org to identify whether the subject charities meets the <a href="/link/bf08473b31114ffdb14b01e3dd6bc76f.aspx">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a>.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building trust video series, we are pleased to provide our short interview with Kevin Washington, President and CEO of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ymca.net/">YMCA of the USA&nbsp;</a>(a&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/2iawtBB">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) who speaks about programs that influence and shape young people. &nbsp;YMCA of the USA serves as the national resource for the Y to strengthen its member associations ability to effectively carry out the YMCA mission in their communities.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vJgg1fU2Oxw" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2iaAfuI">International Medical Corps</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2iaB8nd">Mission India</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2iaBHgQ">SeriousFun Children’s Network</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2017/01/wise-giving-wednesday-a-new-year-and-new-giving-opportunities/; 1/4/2017 10:23:27 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Donating Before New Year’s Eve <p>Tick tock, the donation clock for getting a 2016 tax deduction chimes at midnight on December 31<sup>st</sup>. The remaining days of the year are usually one of the busiest for charitable gifts. So here are some tax tips to keep in mind to help you ensure your donation is deductible. If you need assistance beyond the advice provided below, see your accountant, attorney and/or review the latest version of <a title="IRS Publication 526" href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p526.pdf" target="_blank">IRS Publication 526</a> which discusses how to claim a deduction for charitable contributions.</p> <p><strong>Verify charitable tax-exempt status.</strong></p> <p>Look up the organization’s name on the <a title="IRS Search engine" href="https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/organizations-eligible-to-receive-tax-deductible-charitable-contributions" target="_blank">IRS search engine</a> to verify it is eligible to receive contributions deductible as charitable gifts. Generally, these are organizations tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. You need to know the exact full name of the charity to conduct a proper search on this IRS page. Keep in mind that if the organization is a church or other house of worship, you may not find them on this list since such groups are not required to apply for tax-exempt charity status.</p> <p><strong>Donating by December 31<sup>st</sup>.</strong></p> <p>If you mail a check using the U.S. Postal Service, you can usually go by the delivered when mailed rule.&nbsp; However, this same rule may not apply when using another mailing service. If you are contributing online, as long as the transaction is posted before midnight on December 31<sup>st</sup>, it can count as a 2016 donation for tax purposes.</p> <p><strong>In-kind donations.</strong></p> <p>If you are taking a deduction for goods you donated to charity in 2016, keep in mind the goods should be in good used condition. If the item is unsalable, like a torn sweatshirt, it is not deductible. Also, it is up to you, not the charity, to accurately assign the proper fair-market-value to the donated goods.&nbsp; If the items are used, their value is what they would normally sell for in a charity thrift store in their current condition. &nbsp;If your in-kind gifts total $500 or more, you will need to complete and attach <a title="IRS Form 8283" href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8283.pdf" target="_blank">IRS Form 8283</a> to your 2016 Tax Return. If your claimed value of an item donated is greater than $5,000, you will need an outside appraisal (for more details see <a title="IRS Publication 561" href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p561.pdf" target="_blank">IRS Publication 561</a> on donating the value of donated property.)</p> <p><strong>Donating your car.</strong></p> <p>In addition to the <i><a title="Car Donation Tips" href="/link/11b8e20e612048bfa8e3fb1e8fbba6e1.aspx" target="_blank">Car Donation Tips</a></i> provided on another page the Give.org website, check out the IRS Publication on <i><a title="Vehicle Donations" href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p4303.pdf" target="_blank">Vehicle Donations</a></i>. &nbsp;Depending on the claimed value of your car donation, you may need to get a written acknowledgement from the charity that includes certain information specified in the mentioned IRS publication.&nbsp; Keep in mind that if the charity sells your used car, your deduction is generally limited to the gross proceeds the charity receives from the sale, which may be significantly less than the current fair-market sales value of the car.</p> <p>Of course, we also encourage you to find out if the charity you choose to support meets the 20 <i><a title="BBB Standards for Charity Accountability" href="/link/bf08473b31114ffdb14b01e3dd6bc76f.aspx">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></i> by viewing available reports on Give.org</p> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features&nbsp;James Firman, President &amp; CEO, <a title="National Council on Aging" href="https://www.ncoa.org/" target="_blank">National Council on Aging</a> (a <a title="National Council on Aging" href="http://go.bbb.org/nca">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which helps people aged 60 and older meet the challenges of aging, particularly in relation to health and economic security issues. Programs include but are not limited to job and volunteer placement, counseling, educational workshops, and chronic disease management programs.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-i_g6EQea6s" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a title="Give.org" href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving.</p> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a title="https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/" href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/12/wise-giving-wednesday-donating-before-new-years-eve/; 12/28/2016 11:59:43 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Donations to Help Syrian Refugees <p>Over a year ago, BBB Wise Giving Alliance distributed a donor advisory about Syrian refugee assistance.&nbsp; It is with deep sadness that a year later, the crisis for Syrian refugees continues to escalate, particularly in the aftermath of the destruction of Aleppo. &nbsp;<a href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/02/syrias-refugee-crisis-in-numbers/">Amnesty International</a> reports that over the course of &nbsp;five years of warfare, over 4.8 million Syrians have fled to five countries (Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt) and that the UN estimates another 13.5 million are currently in need within Syria itself.</p> <p>During this season of giving, many generous American donors will respond to help Syrians in need. We advise contributors to keep the following tips in mind to help identify trustworthy relief efforts and to help avoid those seeking to take advantage of public sympathy about a tragic and devastating situation. With so much as stake, every donation counts.&nbsp; However, one of the difficulties in providing help within Syria itself, as reported by a December 13<sup>th</sup> blog posted by <a href="http://www.care.org/impact/stories/plea-aleppo-please-save-us">CARE</a>, is that “Since 2012, all humanitarian assistance delivered outside of government supervision is prohibited.”</p> <p><strong>Find Out What the Charity Does.<br /></strong>There are a variety of organizations involved in assisting Syrian refugees as well as those still in Syria. Make sure you know what activities the charity is carrying out before you make a gift. Some organizations are focused on providing food, water, basic necessities and medical care while others are assisting with housing, childcare and education. In most cases, you can’t tell what the charity does based on its name alone.</p> <p><strong>Find out if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the impacted areas.</strong><br /> Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to bring in new aid workers to provide assistance quickly.&nbsp;As noted above, this is particularly true in Syria due to government restrictions on aid and the danger posed to relief workers providing assistance.</p> <p><strong>Be wary of claims that 100 percent of donations will assist relief victims.<br /> </strong>Despite what an organization might claim, charities have fund raising and administrative costs.</p> <p><strong>Determine if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups.</strong><br /> Some charities may be raising money to pass along to relief organizations.&nbsp; If so, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and giving directly to those that have a presence in the region.</p> <p>The following organizations are collecting funds for Syrian refugee relief and meet all of the BBB Charity Standards:</p> <p><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2hcHmq6">ActionAid USA</a><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1Qohwqu"><br />American Refugee Committee</a><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1hUEVnE"><br /> CARE USA</a><br /> <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1g7SG17">Catholic Relief Services</a><br /> <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1Noj2uv">Church World Service</a><br /> <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1NZDOk6">Concern Worldwide US</a><br /> <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1VM3LVB">GlobalGiving</a><br /> <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1ObfxXn">Helping Hand for Relief and Development</a><br /> <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1LigiZB">International Medical Corps</a><br /> <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1PZBkzS">International Rescue Committee</a><br /> <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1NojtFf">Islamic Relief USA</a><br /> <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1LW29UO">Lutheran World Relief</a><br /> <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1VM43vD">Medical Teams International</a><br /> <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1GWZ8RF">Mennonite Central Committee</a><br /> <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1ESm7QA">Mercy Corps</a><br /> <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1M9gdgF">Oxfam America</a><br /> <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1hUFQEy">Plan International USA</a><br /> <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1ib5aah">Save the Children<br /></a><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2h1Z8rj"><span style="background-color: transparent;">SOS Children’s Villages-USA</span></a><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1ib5aah"><a href="/link/6de9897c2d424957b59b576f71b6ee8d.aspx?epsremainingpath=national/human-services/sos-childrens-villages-usa-in-washington-dc-1933"><br /></a></a><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1UEYZH9">United States Fund for UNICEF<br /></a><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1KCM3C6">World Relief<br /></a><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1LW2yGR">World Vision</a></p> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/12/wise-giving-wednesday-donations-to-help-syrian-refugees/; 12/21/2016 11:01:12 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: ‘Tis the Season <p><img style="float: right;" alt="" src="/link/c1cf70f4cb65497eb95db3d2f44b29ea.aspx" height="642" width="391" />As noted in this week’s <a href="https://www.philanthropy.com/">Chronicle of Philanthropy</a>, this holiday season is expected to result in significant gains for charities due to a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, large gifts from wealthy donors, a rising stock market, and a healthy response to the GivingTuesday campaign. While end-of-year donating is usually the most active time for contributors, the predictions are that charities will do better than anticipated.&nbsp;</p> <p>In view of this, we are pleased to share <a href="/link/6d72dd1bc3c94df798894f944f16b648.aspx">an infographic</a> that provides donors with a holiday checklist of advice in making their giving choices: make sure you know what the charity does, watch out for name similarity, seek out advice from friends and family about which causes concern them most and verify if the charity meets the <i><a href="/link/bf08473b31114ffdb14b01e3dd6bc76f.aspx">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></i> by visiting <a href="http://Give.org">Give.org</a>&nbsp;</p> <p>As part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to provide a video that features Lt. Col. Ron Busroe, National Community Relations and Development Secretary of <a href="http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/">The Salvation Army</a>’s National Headquarters in the United States (a <a href="/link/6de9897c2d424957b59b576f71b6ee8d.aspx?epsremainingpath=national/religious/salvation-army-national-corporation-in-alexandria-va-1221">BBB Accredited Charity</a>).&nbsp; The Salvation Army works through a network of 7,546 facilities in communities throughout the United States. The organization services include providing shelter for the homeless, food for the hungry, daycare services for the elderly, assistance for the disabled, job training for displaced individuals, Bible classes for people in prison, relief for disaster victims, after-school tutoring, youth camps, and recreation activities for children. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xdQO6JCjwTA" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: left;">We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2gIO7zP">World Emergency Relief</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2gITFKM">Wreaths Across America</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2gITXBl">Youth for Christ USA</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/12/wise-giving-wednesday-tis-the-season/; 12/14/2016 10:54:24 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Crowdfunding Tips <p>During the holiday season, as donors seek to assist those in need, some will be drawn to the requests for help appearing on Crowdfunding websites.&nbsp; Donors should keep in mind, however, that not all crowdfunding sites operate in the same way. Below are some tips excerpted from the&nbsp;<a href="/link/5e79b6e53d5a4b7bbd2d6c5fbaaafc6f.aspx">crowdfunding cover story&nbsp;</a>that appeared in a previous edition of the <i>Wise Giving Guide</i> magazine:&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Charities can be checked</strong><b> &nbsp;</b>Crowdfunding websites run by charitable organizations can provide opportunities to learn more about the organization’s programs, finances and whether they are registered to solicit with state government agencies.&nbsp; In addition, third-party sources such as reports on&nbsp;<a style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;" href="http://give.org/">Give.org&nbsp;</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">can help donors verify that the charities meet recognized standards.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Be especially careful after a disaster or tragedy</strong><b>&nbsp;</b>Watch out for those seeking to take advantage of high public sympathy immediately after a disaster or tragedy by setting up a crowdfunding project that may have no official connection to any charitable organization and may be using names and photos of victims without the families’ permission.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Specialized crowdfunding sites may be more adept&nbsp;</strong>If a crowdfunding sites specializes in a particular kind of activity such as medical funding, school projects (<a style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;" href="https://www.donorschoose.org/">DonorsChoose.org</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">) or overseas development (</span><a style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;" href="https://www.globalgiving.org/">GlobalGiving.org</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">), there is a greater chance they will have the experience and skills to engage in more oversight over the featured projects.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><strong>Read the fine print &nbsp;</strong>Crowdfunding sites vary in terms of whether the donors or the project organizer will be charged for site administrative costs and credit card fees.&nbsp; If a project does not achieve its targeted fundraising goal, sites also vary as to whether the donation will be refunded.<b style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</b></p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Besa Pinchotti, Communications Director of the&nbsp;<a href="/link/6de9897c2d424957b59b576f71b6ee8d.aspx?epsremainingpath=national/veterans-and-military/national-military-family-association-in-alexandria-va-4362">National Military Family Association&nbsp;</a>(a&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/2hji3OH">BBB Accredited Charity</a>).&nbsp; The NMFA is an organization that works to strengthen and protect Uniformed Services families through its advocacy activities and programs that include spouse scholarships, camps for military kids, and retreats for families reconnecting after deployment and the families of the wounded, ill and injured.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1LwI6P_JZbo" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2hjhgNT">African Enterprise</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2hjnflN">OutServe-SLDN</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2hjgosq">Union of Concerned Scientists</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/12/wise-giving-wednesday-crowdfunding-tips/; 12/7/2016 11:45:12 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: BBB WGA #GivingTuesday Activities <p>Yesterday, November 29<sup>th</sup>, was #Giving Tuesday, the designated day for making donations to charity. For the past four years, BBB Wise Giving Alliance has participated in helping to promote <strong>wise giving</strong> on this special day.&nbsp; Here is a summary of our outreach efforts in encouraging participation:</p> <p><strong>Wise Giving Wednesday blog:</strong></p> <p>Last Wednesday, our <a href="/link/47137ff72db5490e84e813f03be541c9.aspx">Wise Giving Wednesday blog </a>included giving tips on #GivingTuesday as well as a link to a recent Council of Better Business Bureaus podcast, <i>The Bistro</i>, which features an interview about #GivingTuesday.</p> <p><strong>USA Today full page ad.</strong></p> <p>The &nbsp;November 29<sup>th</sup> edition of USA Today featured our annual full-page ad of BBB WGA national charity seal holders along with a message to check out charities at Give.org.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Huffington Post </strong></p> <p>I was invited to submit a blog for the Huffington Post about #GivingTuesday which appeared on Saturday, November 26th. &nbsp;<a href="http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/13228844">It features a very personal story</a> that addresses the important role charities can play and encourages wise giving.</p> <p><strong>#ReutersCharity Twitter Chat</strong></p> <p>BBB WGA participated in a #ReutersCharity Twitter chat on Tuesday, November 29<sup>th</sup> along with representatives from Fidelity, Schwab, Blackbaud, Charity Navigator, Oceana, ACLU &amp; others.&nbsp; Please check out the chat at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/reuterscharity">#ReutersCharity.&nbsp;</a></p> <p><strong>Giving Tips Video</strong></p> <p>Last year I helped produce a video that provided some giving tips that are valid on #GivingTuesday as well as throughout the year. Review this to get some quick advice on your end of year giving decisions.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/69jhXAqv0Lg" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2fR0l7s">American Heart Association&nbsp;</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2fR3ZOC">LuMind Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2fR5cpb">National Breast Cancer Coalition</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/11/wise-giving-wednesday-bbb-wga-givingtuesday-activities/; 11/30/2016 10:42:57 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: November 29th is #GivingTuesday <p>For the fifth year, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the United States&nbsp;has been designated as <a href="https://www.givingtuesday.or/">#GivingTuesday</a>, the day to make donations to charity.&nbsp; Started by the New York-based organization, <a href="http://www.92y.org/">92Y</a>, in partnership with the <a href="http://unitednationsfoundation.org/">United Nations Foundation</a>, #GivingTuesday raised over $116 million dollars in online donations last year from over 700,000 donors. In addition to the national campaign, there are now a number of regional campaigns in the U.S. as well as activities in over 20 countries.</p> <p>BBB Wise Giving Alliance has been helping to promote #GivingTuesday for the past four years by encouraging donors to make thoughtful giving decisions.&nbsp; We urge contributors to find out more about the organization(s) before sending donation(s) and visit Give.org to verify if the charity meets the 20 <i><a href="/link/bf08473b31114ffdb14b01e3dd6bc76f.aspx">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></i> .</p> <p>To assist donors, BBB WGA offers the following #Giving Tuesday Checklist<b><i>&nbsp;</i></b></p> <ol start="1"> <li><strong>Decide Together.</strong> Sit down with your family or friends to discuss the causes and charities that are most meaningful to you. This will help narrow your search before making a donation. <b>&nbsp;</b></li> <li><strong>Watch Out for Name Similarity.</strong>&nbsp; Charities raising money for the same cause can have names that sound similar.&nbsp; Avoid cases of mistaken identity by looking at the name carefully.</li> <li><strong>What Does the Charity Do?</strong> &nbsp;A charity’s name won’t necessarily reflect the nature of its program activities. Review the charity’s appeals and website to make sure you know how it plans to address the problems it describes so well.</li> <li><strong>Verify Your Charity.</strong> Visit Give.org to verify that your charity of choice is trustworthy and transparent.&nbsp;</li> </ol> <p>Discover more tips on how to make a wise giving decision provided at Give.org.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>Of related interest, click below to listen to a recent Council of Better Business Bureaus podcast, "The Bistro," featuring Giving Tuesday. &nbsp;More information about this new podcast series (which is also <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-bistro/id1167088726?mt=2">available on iTunes</a>) can be <a href="/link/ae1d5a8e9f9b4c4bb8404920f98f46a8.aspx">found here.</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="http://betterbusiness.blubrry.com/?powerpress_embed=145-podcast&amp;powerpress_player=mediaelement-audio" frameborder="0" width="320" height="30"></iframe>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2gki4mG">Adopt America Network</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2gknRc7">Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2gkjEFa">Union of Concerned Scientists</a></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/11/wise-giving-wednesday-november-29th-is-givingtuesday/; 11/23/2016 10:29:36 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Fundraising’s Most Important 45 Days <p>With 45 days to go before 2016 ends, most charities in America are working hard to make fundraising goals and encourage greater giving during the most active time for charity donations. &nbsp;Some organizations receive about one-third of their overall contributions during the last quarter of the year. &nbsp;There are a lot of motivating factors that converge to create these fundraising incentives at this time, including the influence of the holidays to remember those in need, the special promotions such as Giving Tuesday – the designated day of giving that takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and the closing window for those in the U.S. who wish to take a tax deduction on their federal income taxes.</p> <p>There is more than enough time, however, to make careful choices about donations including verifying the trustworthiness of charities by visiting <a href="http://Give.org">Give.org</a> to find out if the organization meets the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. Our standards provide a comprehensive review of a variety of issues including charity governance, results reporting, finances, website disclosures and appeal accuracy.</p> <p>We also encourage contributors to check that a charity is properly registered to solicit in their state by visiting the website of the appropriate state charity registration office, which is usually a division of the state’s office of the Attorney General or the Secretary of State’s office.&nbsp; About 40 states require such registration in order for a charity to solicit funds.</p> <p>We encourage donors to plan ahead and not wait until midnight on December 31<sup>st</sup> to make their charitable giving choices. &nbsp;And, consider making a larger contribution once you have verified your trust in the charity you want to support.</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Mark Bergel, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director&nbsp;of&nbsp;<a href="http://awidercircle.org/">A Wider Circle&nbsp;</a>(a&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/2fVvkxF">BBB Accredited Charity</a>).&nbsp; A Wider Circle is an organization that works to end poverty for individuals and families by collecting and distributing donated goods, providing professional attire, job preparedness courses, and a well-baby program.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bVVyKP_9pNM" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/11/wise-giving-wednesday-fundraisings-most-important-45-days/; 11/16/2016 11:00:47 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: 45,000 Veterans Organizations <p>On Veterans Day, many Americans will seek to remember and honor veterans by contributing to charities and other nonprofit organizations that address a variety of issues and needs facing veterans, military service members and/or their families. The challenge, however, is how to make a wise giving decision among the over 45,000 organizations in the United States that address these issues. While the majority of these organizations are small &nbsp;organizations that bring in less than $50,000 a year, there are still quite a number of larger veterans groups from which to choose.</p> <p>To help donors make informed decisions about such contributions to veterans organizations, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers the following tips.</p> <ul> <li><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Look at the Name Carefully.</strong></span> It’s easy to be confused as many veterans’ charities include virtually the same words in different order or slightly different form. So, be alert and make sure the organization you are considering is the one you want to support.</li> <li><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Find Out What They Do.</strong></span> Don’t assume what the veterans organization&nbsp;does based on their name alone. Look for a clear description of the organization’s programs in its appeals and on its website.</li> <li><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Be Careful About Phone Appeals.</strong></span> If not managed properly, some telemarketing campaigns for veterans organizations can be an expensive way to raise funds with very little going to the organization. If called, do not hesitate to ask for written information on the charity’s programs and finances before making a donation.</li> <li><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Be Wary of Excessive Pressure.</strong></span> &nbsp;Don’t be pressured to make an immediate on-the-spot donation to a veterans organization. Charities should welcome your gift whenever you want to send it.</li> <li><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Learn How Donated Items Will Be Used.</span> </strong>Find out how the charity benefits from the collection and resale of used clothing and other in-kind gifts. Sometimes the charity receives only a small portion of the resale price of the item or may have a contractual arrangement to get a flat fee for every household pick-up, no matter what the contents.</li> <li><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Check with Outside Sources Before Giving:</strong></span> In addition to charity reports on&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>, check with your state government’s charity registration agency, usually a division of the Attorney General’s office.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Of course, charities devoted to the various needs of veterans and their families deserve our support throughout the year and not just on Veterans Day. But for those donors thinking of making a special contribution in honor of Veterans Day, we urge them to check out the organization before they donate.&nbsp; The list below includes the 10 largest (in terms of total revenue) BBB Accredited national veterans charities (i.e. meets all <a href="/link/bf08473b31114ffdb14b01e3dd6bc76f.aspx">20 BBB Charity Standards</a>).</p> <ol> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2fE5w7L">Marine Toys for Tots Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2fDZGmV">USO</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2fDZGmV">Disabled American Veterans</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2fE4Xuz">Operation Homefront</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2fE36WR">Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2fE1lc2">Homes for Our Troops</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2fE31T1">Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2fDZWCa">Military Child Education Coalition</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2fE3xA8">Travis Manion Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2fE60dU">Blinded Veterans Association</a></li> </ol> <p>Remember the BBB Wise Giving Alliance is here to help you verify the trustworthiness of charities that solicit your support.</p> <p>We hope the above provides some guidance and welcome you to learn more at&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>As part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide the following video that features Lieutenant General Pete Osman, USMC (Ret.), President and CEO,&nbsp; <a href="http://www.toysfortots.org/">Marine Toys for Tots Foundation</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2fE4kkL">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which helps collect and distribute millions of new and unwrapped toys as Christmas gifts for less fortunate children.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/BKHzoFZ0FMo" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/11/wise-giving-wednesday-45000-veterans-organizations/; 11/9/2016 1:56:13 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Fake Check Scam Returns to Target Charities <p>Back in February, BBB Wise Giving Alliance alerted the charitable community about a <a href="/link/ec8765d904964ee3ac3e7067dede5edf.aspx">fake-check overpayment scam</a>.&nbsp; It appears this scam is continuing using different names and affiliations, but the same scenario.&nbsp; Charities receive an email from an individual expressing interest in making a five-figure donation and then sends the gift using overnight mail. Next, the scammer informs the charity he/she made an error and sent too much and asks the charity to immediately return a portion of the donation (several thousand dollars or more) to cover some type of medical emergency. &nbsp;The charity returns the requested money, through a wire transfer or other quick method. The charity later discovers the original donation check is fake, and the organization has lost the amount it sent back to the individual.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>If a charity receives an email as described, we encourage the organization to post a notice on <a href="https://www.bbb.org/scamtracker/us/">BBB Scam Tracker</a>, a free interactive tool for individuals in the United States and Canada to report scams and fraud while warning others of malicious or suspicious activity.&nbsp; BBB also collaborates and shares scam report data with law enforcement agencies.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide a video that features Jean Knaack, Executive Director of <a href="http://www.rrca.org/">Road Runners Club of America</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2fbbnEW">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which promotes the development and growth of running clubs and running events, and supports the interests of recreational runners.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/S5VF6F-pfh0" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2fbbctg">RISE International</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2fbf3GF">Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2fbdN6B">Swim Across America</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/11/wise-giving-wednesday-fake-check-scam-returns-to-target-charities/; 11/2/2016 11:16:37 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Breast Cancer Awareness <p>Before October comes to a close, I wanted to honor <i>Breast Cancer Awareness Month</i>, the campaign to raise awareness for the prevention, treatment and cure of this devastating disease which the <a title="American Cancer Society" href="http://www.cancer.org/healthy/morewaysacshelpsyoustaywell/breastcancer">American Cancer Society</a> reports is the most common cancer among women in the United States (other than skin cancer.)&nbsp; These annual awareness activities started over thirty years ago, in 1985, as a collaboration of a number of cancer charities. The month's&nbsp;mega public reach permeates nearly every type of communication space available through promotions that range from races to retailers.&nbsp; In addition, a growing number of cancer charities are now established to specifically address breast cancer. They seek public donations for variety<b> of </b>programs that support awareness, medical research as well as those seeking help and advice in obtaining treatment.</p> <p>Perhaps one of the most attention getting activities for this month is the array of promotions for consumer products announcing that their purchase will assist breast cancer charities. BBB Standards for Charity Accountability addresses such cause-related marketing activities.&nbsp; As stated in <a href="/link/59a9c0fd30004efd85b7094074c85374.aspx">Standard 19</a>, such promotions should disclose, at the point of solicitation, the actual or anticipated portion of the purchase price that will benefit the charity, and if applicable, the duration of the campaign and any maximum or guaranteed minimum contribution amount.&nbsp; For example, “5 cents for every abc product sold in October will go to xyz charity up to a maximum of $100,000.”&nbsp;</p> <p>But, like all illnesses in need of a cure, funding is important throughout the year and not just on the designated month to bring attention to the cause.&nbsp; Nevertheless, such public awareness is helpful in reminding us about the significance of the issue and in alerting us to answer the call for help.&nbsp; As we enter November and the heart of giving seasons, I hope that breast cancer charities continue to share in your generosity.&nbsp; As always, we encourage interested donors to visit <a href="http://Give.org">Give.org</a> to verify if the organization meets all 20 of the BBB Charity Standards.</p> <hr /> <p>On a related note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide a video that features Ruth Hoffman, Executive Director, of <a href="http://www.acco.org/">American Childhood Cancer Organization</a> (a <a title="a BBB Accredited Charity" href="http://go.bbb.org/2eaDhNI">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which seeks “to provide information and support for children and adolescents with cancer and their families, to provide grassroots leadership through advocacy and awareness, and to support research leading to a cure for all children diagnosed with this life-threatening disease.”</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/z_vphzVuVvk" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/10/wise-giving-wednesday-breast-cancer-awareness/; 10/26/2016 9:55:07 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Serving on Too Many Governing Boards <p>Charities, especially at the regional level, often seek to engage community leaders, such as prominent business executives, by inviting them to join their board of directors. While this makes sense in terms of making helpful connections and getting input from successful individuals, organizations need to be aware that in some cases, the popularity of certain individuals may lead to instances of over commitments. A community leader may be serving on too many boards (both charity and for-profit) at the same time.&nbsp; This point came up in a presentation on board governance made on October 17<sup>th</sup> by <a href="https://www.mwe.com/en/team/p/peregrine-michael-w">Michael Peregrine</a> at the annual meeting of the National Association of State Charity Officials, an organization of state government regulators of charities which is also sponsored by the National Association of Attorneys General.&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. Perregrine, a partner at the law firm of McDermott Will &amp; Emery, referred to this phenomenon as “charity overboarding” and noted that at some point a board member’s effectiveness is diminished by serving on too many governing boards. Board participation involves &nbsp;time commitments in terms of preparing for and attending governance meetings and other activities in fulfilling an oversight role.&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p>As noted in the <i><a href="/link/59a9c0fd30004efd85b7094074c85374.aspx">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></i>, a charity’s board of directors should provide adequate oversight of the charity’s operations and staff by fulfilling certain fundamental responsibilities (for example, budget approval, oversight of fundraising activities, etc.) and should have a majority of board members in attendance at meetings. A board member who serves on too many governing boards may have difficulty in meeting these responsibilities.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our&nbsp;<b>Building Trust&nbsp;Video&nbsp;Series</b>&nbsp;we are pleased to provide a video that features&nbsp;an interview with&nbsp;Jaime Berman Matyas, President and Chief Executive Officer<b>,&nbsp;</b><a href="http://www.thesca.org/">Student Conservation Association</a>, (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1O6pItM">BBB Accredited Charity).</a> They have been involved in building the next generation of conservation leaders and encouraging environmental stewardship since 1957.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/CVS1lMeO60s" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2dP4xRq">American Diabetes Association</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2euMvoS">Innovations for Poverty Action</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2etlyAH">United Spinal Association</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/10/wise-giving-wednesday-serving-on-too-many-governing-boards/; 10/19/2016 4:08:39 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Hurricane Matthew Hits the U.S. <p>News accounts show us pictures of small boats floating across the flooded aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in North Carolina, as responders seek to rescue remaining residents trapped by the devastation. It is heart wrenching to see what one storm can do as it went from the Caribbean to the eastern coast of Florida and up through the Carolinas, and how quickly some lost their homes and possessions. Over 30 lives were lost in the U.S. and the death toll in Haiti rose to over 1,000 as cholera spread.</p> <p>Sadly, charity fundraising in response to flooding can sometimes be less successful than other natural disasters. <i>The Chronicle of Philanthropy</i> reported this past summer (T. Sandoval, “Slow Start for Donations to Aid La. Flood Victims,” August 23, 2016) that donations to assist victims of flooding in the Baton Rouge had lagged behind other major disasters such as Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the earthquake Haiti in 2010 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. &nbsp;Of course, those other storms had factors that drew more public attention such as the impact on larger metropolitan areas and the hardships endured by those waiting for assistance.</p> <p>Last week’s <em><a href="http://give.org/news-updates/news/2016/10/wise-giving-wednesday-giving-for-hurricane-matthew-relief/">Wise Giving Wednesday</a> </em>provided some general tips in making donations to Hurricane Matthew relief. Today, I would like to offer some additional giving advice to consider.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Phases of disaster relief</span>. </strong>Remember that every disaster has several phases – rescue, emergency relief and recovery. Each part relies on public support and continuing funding for success. The need for donations doesn’t stop when the headlines do.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Recovery time line</span>.</strong> For many communities, recovery will be a long-term activity that can take many months or years to accomplish, depending on the extent of the damage. Those truly concerned about helping communities bounce back will have many opportunities to help.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Disaster planning</span>. </strong>Although it may seem obvious, no one wants to experience a repeat performance of a disaster.&nbsp; Areas that work toward recovery will probably also need to develop plans to better respond to a similar storm in the future. Even those that already had measures in place can find ways to improve based on experience.</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our&nbsp;<strong>Building Trust&nbsp;Video&nbsp;Series</strong>&nbsp;we are pleased to provide a video that features&nbsp;<strong>Mary Gilberti, J.D., &nbsp;</strong>Executive Director of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nami.org/">NAMI</a>, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (a&nbsp;<a title="a BBB Accredited Charity" href="http://go.bbb.org/2dcjlsz" target="_blank">BBB Accredited Charity</a>). Mary provides a brief overview of the NAMI activities and explains what they do to help strengthen donor trust.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/W6V_PBTrIfk" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/10/wise-giving-wednesday-hurricane-matthew-hits-the-u-s/; 10/12/2016 10:40:00 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Giving for Hurricane Matthew Relief <p>Hurricane Matthew was rated a Category 4 (which is defined as having winds from 133 to 155 miles per hour) as it struck Haiti and now moves on to other islands in the Caribbean and then threatens the East Coast of the United States. &nbsp;Unfortunately, Haiti is particularly vulnerable as it has not fully recovered from the devastating earthquake that took place in 2010 that took 200,000 lives. It’s infrastructure is already damaged and a hurricane will only make matters worse. As the Atlantic hurricane season officially ends November 30<sup>th</sup>, we still have a while to go before being out of harm’s way of such devastating storms.&nbsp;</p> <p>As a result, donors should keep the following tips in mind as well to help avoid questionable appeals for hurricane relief efforts:&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Find out if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the impacted areas</strong></span>. Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to bring in new aid workers to provide assistance quickly. See if the charity’s website clearly describes what the charity can do to address immediate needs.&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups</strong></span>. Some charities may be raising money to pass along to relief organizations. If so, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and giving directly to those that have a presence in the region. Or, at a minimum, check out the ultimate recipients of these donations to see whether they are equipped to provide aid effectively.&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations</strong></span>. In-kind drives for food and clothing, while well intentioned, may not necessarily be the quickest way to help those in need – unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid properly. Ask the charity about its transportation and distribution plans. Be wary of those who are not experienced in disaster relief assistance.&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Understand crowdfunding</strong></span>. While this method of assisting individuals in need is popular, keep in mind that some crowdfunding sites dovery little vetting of individuals who decide to post for assistance after a disaster, and it is often difficult for donors to verifytrustworthiness of crowdfunding requests for support. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Lindsey Groff, Executive Director, &nbsp;<a href="https://www.barthsyndrome.org/home">Barth Syndrome Foundation</a>, a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2dEoGgv">BBB Accredited Charity</a>, which seeks to expand, curate and disseminate scientific and medical information about Barth syndrome which is a genetic disorder that impacts various body systems including the heart and muscles.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/4a0nluhtmzw" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/10/wise-giving-wednesday-giving-for-hurricane-matthew-relief/; 10/5/2016 9:27:51 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Philanthropic Risk and Trust <p>Would you parachute out of an airplane to raise money for charity? My guess is most of us would not. While the proposed action exceeds our risk comfort level, the question does get your attention because it sounds daring and different. On the other hand, taking chances for the greater good is&nbsp;what some charities do every day in order to carry out their work. Whether it’s providing essential needs to refugees in a war-torn area of the world or battling the spread of contagious diseases, some organizations are engaged in challenging efforts due to the very nature of their missions.</p> <p>There is another type of risk, however, that is essential to the success of philanthropy, in my view. &nbsp;It is the risk of attempting new ways to address the problems a charity is seeking to solve and the important role that trust can play in that journey. Charities, like people, can sometimes become averse to risk taking because it shakes their comfort level.&nbsp; Organizations can fall into routines that have proven track records but may be reaching a plateau that cannot be exceeded with the current resources available – for example, the number of families helped by a food assistance program. New approaches to delivering the program and perhaps new ways of raising additional funds can lead to expansion possibilities but that can involve taking a chance that is not guaranteed.&nbsp; To that end, here are some tips for donors and charities to consider in assessing charity risk taking.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Be risky, not reckless</span>. Taking risks on new approaches to problems needs trust building. Organizations need to build confidence from supporters as well as board members by experimenting on a small level before devoting significant resources to an unproven methodology. Think small before you go big.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Diversify</span>. As the old adage goes, <i>don’t put all your eggs in one basket</i>. Risk taking should enable a charity to take chances without placing the <i>entire</i> organization in jeopardy. For example, it doesn’t make sense for a charity to choose a new method of fundraising and devote all its development efforts in that one approach. An organization can attempt several new development activities on a trial basis and diversifytheir revenue streams as best as possible, not relying on any one method for all its needs.&nbsp; The same goes with experimenting on the program services side of a charity.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Measure and Monitor</span>.&nbsp; &nbsp;A charity should incorporate an accurate way to measure the results of new efforts taking into account all the variables that can impact its success. Some activities have clear measures (such as dollars raised in fund raising) but others can be more challenging to quantify (like the success of an advocacy campaign).</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Consider Collaboration</span>. Charities don’t have to do everything on their own, they can seek out potential partners (sometimes other charities) that might help them achieve a desired result that could not be accomplished by a single group.&nbsp; Both organizations can benefit but partners should be checked out to help verify their trustworthiness. Third party evaluations such as those completed by BBB WGA can help.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Be Transparent</span>. If a charity is transparent with donors about the risks involved, it will encourage support and donor trust but will also help in overcoming concerns when things don’t go as well as planned.</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Angel Aloma, Executive Director, <a href="http://www.foodforthepoor.org/">Food for the Poor</a>, a <a title="BBB Accredited Charity" href="http://go.bbb.org/2dfkWA6">BBB Accredited Charity</a>, which conducts relief and development programs in the Caribbean (Haiti, Jamaica and Guyana), Central America (Nicaragua and Guatemala) and the United States. Assistance is provided in the form of cash and gifts-in-kind, to churches and charitable organizations operating in these areas of need, as well as conducting some of its own programs.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/DXnm8ylgNBQ" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/09/wise-giving-wednesday-philanthropic-risk-and-trust/; 9/28/2016 12:45:37 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: The Librarian’s $4 Million Bequest <p>Last week, an article on <a href="https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/09/15/critics-question-spending-librarians-donation-scoreboard?utm_source=Inside+Higher+Ed&amp;utm_campaign=c72eec25d2-DNU20160915&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_term=0_1fcbc04421-c72eec25d2-199444225&amp;mc_cid=c72eec25d2&amp;mc_eid=5a987e3d6d">InsideHigherEd.com</a> got my attention. It told the tale of a frugal staff member at the University of New Hampshire library who passed away in 2015 and left a sizable bequest worth $4 million to the University. He was also a 1963 graduate of the school.&nbsp; The University <a href="https://www.unh.edu/unhtoday/2016/08/librarians-gift">announced</a> it would spend $2.5 million on a career center, $100,000 for the library, and $1 million for a video scoreboard for its football stadium. The $100,000 library expenditure was allegedly the only specified restriction on the gift.&nbsp; Although the librarian was reported to be a University of New Hampshire football fan during the last year of his life, the school received criticism of the decision to fund the video scoreboard. Although almost all of the gift was unrestricted, some complained the planned scoreboard expenditure did not show respect for the donor and his decades of devotion to the school.&nbsp; The school disagrees with this assessment and claims they received positive feedback on the gift.&nbsp;</p> <p>While I am not making a judgment on this circumstance, the story does provide a valuable lesson for those making planned gifts. &nbsp;While charities are probably best served by unrestricted gifts, that can be directed to where they deem most needed, donors would be wise to consider specifying some direction for the potential use of the contribution, if they want their legacy to help achieve a certain type of result. If so, it would be helpful to have a discussion with the recipient organization before finalizing the bequest language, so that when the time comes, the charity can best serve the donor’s true intent while also addressing the organization’s needs.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features John Walter, President &amp; CEO, <a href="http://www.acgtfoundation.org/">Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy</a>, a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2cCVWkr">BBB Accredited Charity</a>, which strives to build alliances between philanthropic individuals and organizations, and medical and academic institutions, to promote cell and gene therapy research in order to combat cancer.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/T5zw0GcVyhY" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2cCV9jC">ASMBA STAR Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2cCVXom">Mexico Medical Missions</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2cCVGC7">National Tuberous Sclerosis Association&nbsp;</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/09/wise-giving-wednesday-the-librarians-$4-million-bequest/; 9/21/2016 10:29:27 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: September 11 Fundraising – Lessons Learned <p>There were many ceremonies and remembrances honoring the 15<sup>th</sup> anniversary of September 11<sup>th</sup> which took place this past Sunday. This also brings to mind what we experienced 15 years ago. Among other things, BBB Wise Giving Alliance received an unprecedented degree of media interest about fundraising efforts which were taking place in the wake of that terrorist attack. I joined the BBB Wise Giving Alliance staff just a few months earlier but never anticipated that the organization would face such a unique and demanding challenge in terms of helping donors give thoughtfully.&nbsp;</p> <p>A <a href="http://www.bbb.org/us/storage/24/documents/9-11%20Report%20Final%20July%202003.pdf">study</a> released in 2003 by the Education and Research Foundation of the Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan New York contacted over 500 organizations from 37 states and 2 countries that were raising funds for some aspect of assistance regarding September 11<sup>th</sup> victims, their families and/or other relief purposes. It is not surprising that this volume of activity led to some confusion among donors and those seeking help. A GAO (U.S. Government Accountability Office) report issued in December 2002 indicated that an estimated $2.7 billion was raised and made the keen observation that “more effective collaboration could enhance charitable organizations’ contributions in disasters.” This collaboration lesson is one that continues to grow in importance today, not just for disaster relief, but for all types of charitable organizations.&nbsp;</p> <p>Another key lesson learned is the importance of communicating accurately to the public about charity activities and how collected funds will be used, both in the immediate aftermath and longer-term, when vital disaster-related needs often emerge.&nbsp; In some past cases, vague announcements about raising funds to help victims have led to donor misperceptions concerning what programs their contributions would support or how quickly those funds would be distributed or used.&nbsp; While some of the larger relief-focused charities received a lot of scrutiny and attention&nbsp;and collected the bulk of funds raised, there were also a significant number of newly-created entities as well as charities without any experience in relief assistance that were collecting funds as well. &nbsp;Sometimes these well-intentioned smaller efforts had no initial plans for how they would spend the amounts raised, which probably made it hard for them to issue clear fundraising appeals. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>This communication challenge is complicated by the nature of the disaster, which may disable telephone and internet connections at charities, businesses, and first responder groups, making it extremely difficult to coordinate relief activities.&nbsp; Transportation and electrical facilities can also be disrupted in the wake of a major disaster.&nbsp; In turn, staff may be unable to report to work at charities at a point in time when their services are needed the most; and staff members may themselves be disaster victims. &nbsp;This can make it difficult to quickly identify the specific assistance that is needed and where it needs to be delivered. Another September 11<sup>th</sup> lesson is that it can take time and be problematic to identify genuine victims, which further adds to delays in providing help.&nbsp;</p> <p>Nevertheless, charities on the scene with relevant expertise are sometimes able to identify unserved needs, stretch resources and provide help much faster than federal, state or local government agencies.&nbsp; Government disaster relief funders are often burdened by procedures and paperwork that they are required to follow. &nbsp;Some private funders choose to wait until government aid is finalized so that they can avoid duplication of effort; this may leave early-responding charities without needed funding streams at a critical time. It can be a <i>Catch 22</i> scenario, but today funders and charities are more aware of these problems&nbsp;and are joining forces to try to anticipate such dilemmas and manage them more effectively with disaster plans. &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Some donors unrealistically expect charities to spend disaster funds as quickly as they are raised, which may be problematic and even inadvisable, given the circumstances. Even so, in the case of 9/11, most funds raised were quickly disbursed to meet urgent needs.&nbsp; The mentioned study completed by BBB Foundation of Metro New York showed that by early 2003, 74% of all reported September 11<sup>th</sup> contributions had been used and four of the most-well known groups had spent 95 percent of their donations. &nbsp;Some charities raised funds for longer-term needs (e.g., reconstruction, scholarships, etc.) which will continue long after the headlines are gone.&nbsp; Of course, when this is the case, it needs to be disclosed fully at the moment of solicitation.&nbsp;</p> <p>Providing an accounting of how funds are used is especially important for organizations engaging in disaster or tragedy-based fund raising. For example, charities can be transparent as events are unfolding by providing website updates about amounts raised and how they are being used. Today’s relief assistance donors eagerly seek information about how their contributions are taking effect, and may not want to wait until the audited financial statements and IRS Form 990 are available a year later.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Jim Stofan, Chief Operating Officer of <a href="http://www.defenders.org/">Defenders of Wildlife</a>&nbsp;(a&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/2cOmu2A">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) works to protect and restore imperiled species throughout North America by transforming policies and institutions and promoting solutions. Defenders promotes the conservation and restoration of North America’s vulnerable species through habitat preservation and restoration on public lands, securing greater wildlife conservation funding and defending and strengthening wildlife and public land management laws and policies.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/QFNNwKGzniY" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2cOjnrp">American Diabetes Association</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2cOiY8x">National Parks Conservation Association</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2cOiYoS">United Spinal Association&nbsp;</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/09/wise-giving-wednesday-september-11-fundraising-lessons-learned/; 9/14/2016 4:12:51 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Back to School & Charities <p>It’s September, and the kids are back in school across the country. And many parents out there know that this also signifies &nbsp;not just the three r’s of Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic, but also the “fourth” R of raising funds. Yes, at many schools, families may be asked to help raise funds for school funding gaps, playground equipment or perhaps a special class project.&nbsp; This can range anywhere from bake sales to book sales. To help ensure success, parent groups would be wise to make sure they have specific plans and goals in place that include stock letters to be sent to parents to introduce the fundraiser, keeping tracks of volunteer leaders for the event, being transparent during the campaign in terms of how much of the collected funds will go to the designated activity and maintaining paper trails to ensure donations are recorded, tracked and thank you notices are sent to contributors.&nbsp;</p> <p>Teachers seeking assistance for class projects might consider posting a request on <a href="https://www.donorschoose.org/">DonorsChoose.org</a>, a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2csKR5V">BBB Accredited Charity</a>, that helps teachers across America post classroom project requests so individuals can provide funding.&nbsp;</p> <p>School fundraisers are not the only philanthropy to consider during the school year. In many areas of the country, high school seniors will be required to complete a specified minimum number of hours of community service in order to graduate. &nbsp;To avoid the end of school year rush, the time to start identifying and making such volunteer arrangements for teens is now. Take the time to check out the charity before a teenager starts volunteering his or her time.&nbsp; Make sure this is a cause and work environment that you are comfortable with before they start.&nbsp; Among other things, see if there is a BBB report on the group and find out if the charity is properly registered with the state charity registration office (In the U.S. this is usually a division of the office of the Attorney General. In Canada, check out the Canada Revenue Agency.)&nbsp;</p> <p>And remember, the care and respect that you demonstrate in both funding and volunteering activities provides students with philanthropic lessons that will last a lifetime.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Mark Bergel, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director&nbsp;of&nbsp;<a href="http://awidercircle.org/">A Wider Circle&nbsp;</a>(a&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/2csJpjY">BBB Accredited Charity</a>).&nbsp; A Wider Circle is an organization that works to end poverty for individuals and families by collecting and distributing donated goods, providing professional attire, job preparedness courses, and a well-baby program.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bVVyKP_9pNM" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2csJTXb">America's Charities</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2csJ1lw">Parents Television Council</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2csJQdO">Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/09/wise-giving-wednesday-back-to-school-charities/; 9/7/2016 10:25:53 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Charities & Disclosure of Requested Information <p><span>Last Thursday, we distributed a press release that included a list of the 10 largest charities (ranked by Fiscal Year 2014 total contributions) that did not disclose any of the information requested by BBB WGA despite repeated written request.&nbsp; These organizations were among those generating inquiries to BBB WGA from individuals seeking verification of the charity’s trustworthiness.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>When BBB WGA receives inquiries about a nationally soliciting charity, its routine procedure is to send up to three written requests to the organization, one of them via-certified-mail, that invites the charity to enroll in BBB WGA’s Online Charity Reporting system so that they can get access to our detailed questionnaire form.&nbsp; If no response is received to these requests, a report is posted explaining the charity’s nondisclosure status.&nbsp; Prior to this posting, the charity receives a draft copy of this report as part of the third request letter.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>There is no charge to the charity to enroll or for the accountability review and resulting report.&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Originally, BBB WGA had identified 20 national charities for potential inclusions in our press release. After informing them of our intended campaign we are pleased that ten of them either provided some information or enrolled to start the information submission process.&nbsp; In addition, one of the ten charities (Pact) included on the list in the release, has since enrolled as well.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>In addition, because of the broad areas covered by our standards, publicly available financial information such as the IRS Form 990, is not sufficient to verify if a charity meets the 20&nbsp;<i>BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</i>. &nbsp;</span>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p><span>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video featuring Dr. Preston W. Campbell III, &nbsp;President and CEO of&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.cff.org/">Cystic Fibrosis Foundation &nbsp;</a><span>(a&nbsp;</span><a href="http://go.bbb.org/26Tmo0j">BBB Accredited Charity</a><span>) which seeks to cure cystic fibrosis and to provide all people with the disease the opportunity to lead full, productive lives by funding research and drug development, promoting individualized treatment, and ensuring access to&nbsp;high quality, specialized care.&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/IW11995xtV8" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><span>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;</span><a id="LPlnk572489" href="http://give.org/"><span>Give.org</span></a><span>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bWaE7A">Armed Services YMCA of the USA</a><br /><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bWaDAy">Luke's Wings</a><br /><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bW8zJ2">Project HOPE: The People-to-People Health Foundation&nbsp;&nbsp;</a></p> <p><span>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;</span><a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/"><span>https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</span></a><span>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</span></p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/08/wise-giving-wednesday-charities-disclosure-of-requested-information/; 8/31/2016 3:35:31 PM Top 10 Charities That Should Raise a Red Flag for Donors <p><img style="float: right; margin: 10px 15px; border: 1px solid black;" alt="" src="/link/84c02347d0bc441887f2c0d2cd324efe.aspx" height="350" width="350" /></p> <p>WASHINGTON—Today, BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB WGA) released a list of the 10 largest charities (ranked by Fiscal Year 2014 total&nbsp;contributions) that failed to disclose any of the requested information needed to verify the charity’s trustworthiness. The list includes recognizable charities, including Teach for America, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. A charity’s failure to disclose important information relevant to BBB WGA evaluation should be a red flag for donors, and the BBB WGA urges donors to avoid charities that dodge transparency. &nbsp;</p> <p>“Transparency is the mark of a well-run charity,” said H. Art Taylor, CEO and President of BBB WGA. “Failure to disclose important operations information demonstrates a complete disregard to the importance of trust.</p> <p>"The majority of charities agree to an evaluation, and it’s concerning when charities refuse. Failure to disclose information isn’t just about snubbing the BBB WGA reporting process —these charities are snubbing the people and donors who are asking BBB WGA to verify the charity’s trustworthiness.</p> <p>"We know that publicly-available financial information is simply not enough for BBB WGA to evaluate a charity’s trustworthiness, which is why we evaluate charities on 20 unique standards that also examine a charity’s governance, results reporting and fund-raising practices, among other issues.”</p> <p>BBB WGA is releasing its list of top Transparency Dodgers to uncover some of the largest national charities that fail to disclose critical information and underscore the importance of donors researching before they give.</p> <p>BBB WGA conducts rigorous, comprehensive evaluations on thousands of charities to help donors ensure that the money and time they donate is being spent wisely. To see if your favorite charity is transparent, visit <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> to check out BBB WGA’s free charity reports.<b>&nbsp;</b></p> <p><a href="/link/2935787e3e1d499c8b7a1adc108ca49f.aspx"><img style="float: left; margin-left: 35px; margin-right: 35px;" alt="" src="/link/6ce06ff3073a4741938e99efed2e98a2.aspx" height="386" width="200" /></a></p> <p><strong>Full List of BBB WGA's Top 10 Transparency Dodgers:<br /></strong><em>(ranked by FY 2014 total Contributions)</em></p> <ol> <li><strong>Dana-Farber Cancer Institute</strong></li> <li><strong>Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center</strong></li> <li><strong>Teach For America</strong></li> <li><strong>NeighborWorks America</strong></li> <li><strong>John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts</strong></li> <li><strong>National Fish and Wildlife Foundation</strong></li> <li><strong>City Year</strong></li> <li><strong>United States Holocaust Memorial Museum</strong></li> <li><strong>Pact</strong></li> <li><strong>Local Initiatives Support Corporation</strong></li> </ol> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>ABOUT BBB WISE GIVING ALLIANCE (BBB WGA):</strong></p> <p><span style="font-size: 15px;">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, results 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 </span><a style="font-size: 15px;" href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a><span style="font-size: 15px;">. Follow BBB WGA on Twitter at </span><a style="font-size: 15px;" href="https://twitter.com/bbb_give">@bbb_give</a><span style="font-size: 15px;">. &nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/08/top-10-charities-that-should-raise-a-red-flag-for-donors/; 8/24/2016 3:30:22 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: US Olympic Swimmers Controversy & Charities <p>The allegations surrounding the behavior of Ryan Lochte and other Olympic swimmers during a stop at a gas station in Rio created an international embarrassment.&nbsp; It’s a sad result for these athletes who not only managed to tarnish their own reputations but raised questions about the professionalism of Americans participating in the Olympic games. Media reports reveal that major corporations will&nbsp; not renew their advertising ties with Lochte regarding promotions of their athletic wear and other products.&nbsp; In turn, one of the other swimmers agreed to a settlement with the Brazilian government and will donate approximately $10,000 to a designated charity.&nbsp;</p> <p>This scenario, however, provides a helpful cautionary lesson for charities seeking to gain attention by engaging celebrities to advocate their cause or assist with fundraising efforts.&nbsp; A famous personality can help move the public spotlight to feature the charity’s efforts but can also harm the organization’s perceived trust if the celebrity gets in trouble. &nbsp;&nbsp;While organizations will do their best to vet potential partners, the unexpected can still occur and charities would be wise to have an action plan already in place should the relationship turn sour.&nbsp;</p> <p>Donors also need to be realistic as well and not assume that questionable behavior of a celebrity is the responsibility of the charity that partnered with their famous friend, especially if the incident(s) were not previously demonstrated by the specified celebrity.&nbsp; In the meantime, donors should keep the following in mind:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>Don’t rely on a celebrity as the sole indicator of a charity’s reliability, check with outside sources such as BBB WGA.</li> <li>While some fundraising events featuring celebrities can be expensive, charities may value the public attention to their cause.</li> <li>Be wary of newly established charities that offer little beyond a celebrity connection.</li> <li>If a celebrity misbehaves, weigh the whole situation and especially how the charity handles it.</li> <li>While some altruistic celebrities have long histories with a charity, when you make a donation decision, the charity needs to gain your confidence as well.<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Lisa Marsh Ryerson, President of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.aarp.org/aarp-foundation/">AARP Foundation</a>,&nbsp;a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bPwXeL">BBB Accredited Charity</a>&nbsp;that seeks to serve vulnerable people ages 50 and older by creating and advancing solutions that help them secure the essentials – food, housing, income and personal connection.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1v6lL--0ojQ" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bPvxBe">Humane Society International</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bPxj52">National Council on Aging</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bPvzJ3">Pathfinder International</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/08/wise-giving-wednesday-us-olympic-swimmers-controversy-charities/; 8/24/2016 1:45:52 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Helping Flood Victims in Louisiana <p>About a month ago, we wrote about floods in West Virginia and now we sadly note that Louisiana has also experienced devastating floods as well.&nbsp;The Louisiana Governor's office reports that over 12,000 went to shelters in Southern Louisiana and many thousands more are displaced from their homes.&nbsp; In the aftermath of such misery, people are seeking safety, food and shelter.&nbsp; Many Americans will want to help by donating to various charities.&nbsp; In such circumstances, it makes sense to turn to established charities that have experience, facilities and procedures in place to deal with such tragedies. Listed below are some of the national charities that are BBB Accredited Charities (i.e., that meet all 20 BBB Charity Standards) that are engaged in some aspect of relief.&nbsp;</p> <p>In addition, we suggest that donors keep the following tips in mind as well to help avoid questionable appeals for support:&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Find out if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the impacted areas</strong></span>. Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to bring in new aid workers to provide assistance quickly. See if the charity’s website clearly describes what the charity can do to address immediate needs.&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups</strong></span>. Some charities may be raising money to pass along to relief organizations. If so, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and giving directly to those that have a presence in the region. Or, at a minimum, check out the ultimate recipients of these donations to see whether they are equipped to provide aid effectively.&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations</strong></span>. In-kind drives for food and clothing, while well intentioned, may not necessarily be the quickest way to help those in need – unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid properly. Ask the charity about its transportation and distribution plans. Be wary of those who are not experienced in disaster relief assistance.&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Understand crowdfunding</strong></span>. Keep in mind that some crowdfunding sites do very little vetting of individuals who decide to post for assistance after a disaster, and it is often difficult for donors to verify trustworthiness of crowdfunding requests for support. &nbsp;The Office of the Attorney General in Louisiana issued a <a href="https://www.ag.state.la.us/Article.aspx/2288?TypeId=1&amp;CatId=3">statement</a> on August 16<sup>th</sup> announcing that it would be working with the crowdfunding site <a href="http://www.bbb.org/sdoc/business-reviews/internet-services/gofundme-com-in-san-diego-ca-171998676">GoFundMe</a> to add additional fraud protections to help ensure donations to help flood victims go to the intended cause.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>CHARITIES ENGAGED IN LOUISIANA RELIEF</strong></span></p> <p>Note that BBB Wise Giving Alliance report links are for the national offices of these organizations.</p> <ul> <li class="MsoNormal"><strong><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: Arial, sans-serif;">American Red Cross</span></strong><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: Arial, sans-serif;"><strong>:</strong>&nbsp; link to&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bHftVq"><span style="color: blue; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">BBB Charity Report</span></a>, &nbsp;&nbsp;link to&nbsp;<a href="https://www.redcross.org/donate/donation?campname=genericflood&amp;campmedium=aspot_mo2"><span style="color: blue; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">donation page for Louisiana Relief</span></a>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></li> <li class="MsoNormal"><strong><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: Arial, sans-serif;">Salvation Army</span></strong><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: Arial, sans-serif;">:</span><strong><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: Arial, sans-serif;">&nbsp;</span></strong><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: Arial, sans-serif;">link to&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bHfPeF"><span style="color: blue; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">BBB Charity Report</span></a>, link to&nbsp;<a href="https://give.salvationarmyusa.org/site/Donation2;jsessionid=00000000.app340b?df_id=15447&amp;15447.donation=form1&amp;mfc_pref=T&amp;NONCE_TOKEN=A2EF0E2379D4146A464BC5870454E2F7"><span style="color: blue; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">donation page for Louisiana Relief</span></a>&nbsp;</span></li> <li class="MsoNormal"><strong><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: Arial, sans-serif;">Feed the Children</span></strong><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: Arial, sans-serif;">: link to&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bHfcSj"><span style="color: blue; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">BBB Charity Report</span></a>, link to&nbsp;<a href="https://donate.feedthechildren.org/donation/b2daaf5a/"><span style="color: blue; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">donation page for Louisiana Relief</span></a>&nbsp;</span></li> <li class="MsoNormal"><strong><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: Arial, sans-serif;">Feeding</span><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: Arial, sans-serif;"> America</span></strong><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: Arial, sans-serif;">: link to&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bHftEL"><span style="color: blue; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">BBB Charity Report</span></a>, link to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank/"><span style="color: blue; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">search page to locate Louisiana Food Banks</span></a>&nbsp;</span></li> <li class="MsoNormal"><strong><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: Arial, sans-serif;">United Way Worldwide</span></strong><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: Arial, sans-serif;">:</span><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: Arial, sans-serif;">&nbsp;link to&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bHfvfK"><span style="color: blue; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">BBB Charity Report</span></a>, link to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.unitedway.org/blog/louisiana-united-ways-respond-to-the-devastating-floods"><span style="color: blue; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">page listing Louisiana United Ways</span></a>&nbsp;</span></li> <li class="MsoNormal"><strong><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: Arial, sans-serif;">Brother’s Brother Foundation</span></strong><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: Arial, sans-serif;">: link to&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bHg49n"><span style="color: blue; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">BBB Charity Report</span></a>, link to&nbsp;<span style="color: blue; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;"><a href="http://www.brothersbrother.org/bbf-responds-louisiana-flooding/">donation page for Louisiana Relief</a></span></span></li> <li class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 18.75pt;"><strong><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: Arial, sans-serif;">Direct Relief</span></strong><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: Arial, sans-serif;">:</span><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: Arial, sans-serif;">&nbsp;link to&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bPhfnd"><span style="color: blue; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">BBB Charity Report</span></a>, link to&nbsp;<a href="https://www.directrelief.org/2016/08/louisiana-floods-medical-emergencies-evacuee/"><span style="color: blue; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">donation page for Louisiana Relief</span></a></span></li> </ul> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Michelle DeLaune, Chief Operating Officer of the <a href="http://www.missingkids.com/home">National Center for Missing and Exploited Children</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bHep3N">BBB Accredited Charity</a>).&nbsp; This organization works closely with families of missing children to help rescue and recover them and also seeks to help prevent child sexual exploitation.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/JOQR7yo8yM4" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bHex3g">Christian Freedom International</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bHeLqX">National Federation of the Blind</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bHet3z">United Way Worldwide</a></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> <ul> <li class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman';">American Red Cross</span></b><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman';">:&nbsp; link to&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bHftVq"><span style="color: blue; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">BBB Charity Report</span></a>, &nbsp;&nbsp;link to&nbsp;<a href="https://www.redcross.org/donate/donation?campname=genericflood&amp;campmedium=aspot_mo2"><span style="color: blue; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">donation page for Louisiana Relief</span></a>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <ul> <li class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman';">Salvation Army:&nbsp;</span></b><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman';">link to&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bHfPeF"><span style="color: blue; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">BBB Charity Report</span></a>, link to&nbsp;<a href="https://give.salvationarmyusa.org/site/Donation2;jsessionid=00000000.app340b?df_id=15447&amp;15447.donation=form1&amp;mfc_pref=T&amp;NONCE_TOKEN=A2EF0E2379D4146A464BC5870454E2F7"><span style="color: blue; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">donation page for Louisiana Relief</span></a>&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <ul> <li class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman';">Feed the Children</span></b><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman';">: link to&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bHfcSj"><span style="color: blue; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">BBB Charity Report</span></a>, link to&nbsp;<a href="https://donate.feedthechildren.org/donation/b2daaf5a/"><span style="color: blue; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">donation page for Louisiana Relief</span></a>&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <ul> <li class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman';">Feeding America</span></b><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman';">: link to&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bHftEL"><span style="color: blue; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">BBB Charity Report</span></a>, link to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank/"><span style="color: blue; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">search page to locate Louisiana Food Banks</span></a>&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <ul> <li class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman';">United Way Worldwide:</span></b><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman';">&nbsp;link to&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bHfvfK"><span style="color: blue; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">BBB Charity Report</span></a>, link to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.unitedway.org/blog/louisiana-united-ways-respond-to-the-devastating-floods"><span style="color: blue; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">page listing Louisiana United Ways</span></a>&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <ul> <li class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman';">Brother’s Brother Foundation</span></b><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman';">: link to&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bHg49n"><span style="color: blue; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">BBB Charity Report</span></a>, link to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.brothersbrother.org/bbf-responds-louisiana-flooding/"><span style="color: blue; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">donation page for Louisiana Relief</span></a></span></li> </ul> <ul style="margin-top: 0in;"> <li class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 18.75pt;"><b><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman';">Direct Relief:</span></b><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman';">&nbsp;link to&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bPhfnd"><span style="color: blue; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">BBB Charity Report</span></a>, link to&nbsp;<a href="https://www.directrelief.org/2016/08/louisiana-floods-medical-emergencies-evacuee/"><span style="color: blue; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">donation page for Louisiana Relief</span></a></span></li> </ul> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/08/wise-giving-wednesday-helping-flood-victims-in-louisiana/; 8/17/2016 11:23:47 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: USOC Seeks Olympic Gold <p>As we watch the Olympic games on our televisions, tablets and smart phones, we are mesmerized by the skills and abilities of the athletes competing in Rio. &nbsp;And during the commercial breaks for the U.S. broadcast, the advertisements for cars, beverages, athletic wear and other products announce that the featured corporations are official partners or supporters of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Teams. &nbsp;Unlike most other countries where Olympic activities are funded by their respective governments, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) receives most of its support through contributions, licensing the USOC name and logo, broadcast rights and other sources.&nbsp;</p> <p>For many years, the USOC has been very active in licensing the USOC name and logo to corporations and has developed detailed <a href="http://www.teamusa.org/Athlete-Resources/Athlete-Marketing/Rule-40-Guidanc">rules and procedures</a> for participants. Companies that use the USOC name or Olympic logo without permission are called “ambush” marketers and can expose themselves to legal challenges for this misuse. &nbsp;This past June, it was <a href="http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Daily/Issues/2016/06/29/Olympics/Go-Fund-Me.aspx">reported</a> that one crowdfunding site was challenged by USOC for using its trademark without permission.&nbsp;</p> <p>The <i><a href="http://give.org/for-charities/How-We-Accredit-Charities/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></i> also address cause-related marketing when the promotion specifies that a donation is tied to the purchase of a good or service.&nbsp; In such circumstances, Standards 19 calls for these types of promotions to disclose, at the point of solicitation, the actual or anticipated portion of the purchase price that will benefit the charity (e.g., 5 cents will be contributed to ABC Charity for every XYZ Company product sold).&nbsp; In addition, the following should also be included in the disclosure, if applicable to the specific circumstance: the duration of the campaign (e.g., the month of August), and any maximum or guaranteed minimum contribution amount (e.g., up to a maximum of $200,000). &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>As the USOC is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, BBB WGA produces an evaluative report on them as we do other nationally soliciting charities.&nbsp; <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bgZ9dC">Our last report can be viewed here</a></span>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Saleem Zaru, Executive Director, of the <a href="http://helpupa.org/">United Palestinian Appeal</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bgZI7c">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) that funds healthcare, education, and income-generation projects and provides emergency relief for Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, and the refugee camps of Lebanon.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YJUomLRfw0Y" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bgZDQM">Holt International Children's Services</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bgZa1m">Playing for Change Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2bgZ0a8">Toy Industry Foundation</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/08/wise-giving-wednesday-usoc-seeks-olympic-gold/; 8/10/2016 3:32:15 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Dialing for Dollars <p>From time to time, the majority of us will receive phone calls at home requesting contributions. Although the most common reaction is to hang up, the reality is that telemarketing continues to serve as a means of raising funds for a variety of causes.&nbsp; This development approach works best when the charity is contacting previous donors or individuals that have an established relationship with the charity such as a college soliciting alumni. In those cases, the caller might encourage a gift or propose a larger sum be donated than was contemplated.&nbsp;</p> <p>In contrast, charities or their fundraising representatives make “cold calls” to a broad audience generally to acquire new donors. Such an approach can result in a low rate of return and can end up creating circumstances where the charity receives a very small percentage of the total amount raised.&nbsp; It’s reasonable for charities to do acquisition telemarketing if it is only one of many other successful and less expensive means of fundraising such as from direct mail, bequests, corporate gifts, events and others. Having a diverse fundraising program will help a keep the overall cost to raise a dollar lower than if a charity only used telemarketing.&nbsp;</p> <p>Its also important that a charity that uses an outside telemarketing firm get to keep the names and addresses of new donors acquired. &nbsp;By getting the names and addresses of acquired donors, a charity can use a less expensive means to solicit those donors in the future.&nbsp;</p> <p>BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers the following tips to help donors decide how best to handle phone requests for contributions:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>Ask if the charity raises funds from means other than telemarketing</li> <li>Ask if the caller is from an outside telemarketing firm or the charity itself.&nbsp; If the caller is from an outside firm then ask if the charity will get to keep the name and address when donations are made.</li> <li>Resist pressure to make an “on the spot’ donation decision. Legitimate charities will welcome your gift at another time.</li> <li>Get the name straight as some organizations raising money have similar sounding names, sometimes intentionally.</li> <li>If interested, you can always ask the caller to send you written information or provide the website address of the charity so you can check them out later.</li> <li>Visit Give.org to see if there is a report on the charity or request that one be developed.<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Remember that having your phone number listed with the government’s “Do Not Call Registry” does not apply to charity calls.&nbsp; However, you can ask the telemarketer not to call again on behalf of a particular charity.</p> <hr /> <p>As part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide the following video that features Robin Perkins, Director of Marketing and Communications for&nbsp; <a href="http://www.earthshare.org/">EarthShare</a>&nbsp;(a&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/2aQfu8G">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which annually helps hundreds of thousands of individuals connect with environmental and conservation charities. Among other things, they assist a number of workplace giving campaigns. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/39cksjBkVU8" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2aQbaGe">Care Net</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2aQbIw2">Children with Hair Loss</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2aQbRiM">NAMI</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/08/wise-giving-wednesday-dialing-for-dollars/; 8/3/2016 11:59:51 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: The Increasing Number of New Charities in the U.S. <p>In 2014, the IRS introduced a new, simpler application form for charitable tax-exempt status – the <strong>IRS Form 1023-EZ</strong>. &nbsp;Some were apprehensive about making it easier to obtain charitable-exempt status in view of the existing 1.2 million charities in the United States. Instead of a <a href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1023.pdf">28-page</a> application form, the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1023ez.pdf">three-page EZ version</a> was now available for groups with annual gross receipts of $50,000 or less. &nbsp;(In fairness, the IRS has a seven-page eligibility worksheet that must be reviewed to determine if the EZ Form is applicable.) As reported in <i>The Chronicle of Philanthropy</i>, for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2015, the IRS approved over 86,000 applications for 501(c)(3) charity status. &nbsp;Prior to 2013, the annual volume of approved applications was below 50,000 new groups.&nbsp;</p> <p>As if the new charity floodgates were not open wide enough, however, the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/irb/2016-22_IRB/ar10.html">IRS recently announced</a> that effective July 1, 2016 the user fee to process the IRS Form 1023-EZ was decreased from $400 to $275.&nbsp; While it is too soon to tell how much this reduced fee will further impact the increasing volume of new charities, it is good bet that it will not be a deterrent.&nbsp;</p> <p>On the other hand, some view the size of the American charitable sector as an asset in terms of helping to generate new ideas and approaches to the growing needs and challenges charities face each day.&nbsp; For donors, however, the challenge they face is in making informed giving decisions about new charities that have no track record or experience.&nbsp;</p> <p>Many of the items included in the 20 <i><a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a> </i>cover recommended practices that are applicable to even new organizations such as:&nbsp; including clear program descriptions in appeals and on its website, having an adequate board size, not having the CEO also serve as board chair, not engaging in transactions with board or staff-member related firms that result in a conflict of interest, having a board-approved budget that identifies projected expenses on programs, fundraising and administrative expenses, and including a privacy policy on the charity’s website.&nbsp;</p> <p>As the volume of new charities continues to increase, the BBB Charity Standards can provide guidance that can help these organizations avoid accountability pitfalls while also being transparent to donors.</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Barry Lynn, Executive Director of <a href="http://www.au.org/">Americans United for Separation of Church and State</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2ax80qJ">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which seeks to preserve the separation of church and state through litigation, advocacy, and educational efforts.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/eHxGiM6Nm4k" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2ax78Co">Advancing Native Missions</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2ax7uZM">Partners in Health</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2ax7Yze">World Hope International</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/07/wise-giving-wednesday-the-increasing-number-of-new-charities-in-the-u.s/; 7/27/2016 12:07:15 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Fundraising for Fallen Police Officers <p>While every community recognizes the vital work of its police and law enforcement officers, the recent tragedies involving the shooting of police has magnified the risks law enforcement faces in carrying out their duties and has increased public interest in how to help the victims and families of police officers that have been killed or injured.&nbsp; So when a solicitation is received to donate to a police group, some people are likely to be receptive to offering a contribution to help.&nbsp; While many such groups have been involved in a variety of programs to provide assistance, there are also questionable efforts that will seek to take advantage of public concern about this issue. To help spot red flags, BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers the following tips to consider.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Watch Out for Misleading Police Organization Names </strong></p> <p>The words “police,” “law enforcement,” “trooper” and/or “sheriff” in the name of the organization does not mean that any members of your local police force are involved and the organization may have no activities in your area other than raising funds.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Be Wary of Excessive Pressure in Police Fundraising </strong></p> <p>Don’t be pressured to make an on-the-spot giving decision. The charity that wants your money today will welcome it tomorrow. Take the time to check out police &nbsp;organizations on <a href="http://give.org">Give.org</a> before you donate.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Expensive Telemarketing Campaigns</strong></p> <p>Some police organizations are known for using telemarketing as the principal means to raise funds.&nbsp; Keep in mind that soliciting a high volume of “cold calls” to people who have never donated to the organization will usually result in high fundraising expenses with very little remaining (sometimes 20% or less) for the referenced police organization.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Crowdfunding Cautions</strong></p> <p>Keep in mind that some crowdfunding sites do not do much vetting of posted requests for funds. While some families of fallen officers may decide to set up their own assistance funds, be aware that such funds may not be set up as charities.&nbsp; As a result, the contributions may not be deductible as charitable gifts for federal income tax purposes.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Watch Out for Vague Program Descriptions</strong></p> <p>The police organization’s appeals should be clear about how contributions will assist the families of fallen officers.&nbsp; Program goals can vary quite widely. For example, promoting officer safety programs, scholarships for children of slain police officers, constructing memorials for fallen officers, etc.&nbsp; Vague descriptions of assistance can be a signal that something is amiss.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Robert Lee Bull Jr,&nbsp; Chief Development Officer of the <a href="https://savingplaces.org/">National Trust for Historic Preservation </a>&nbsp;(a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/2acxxCO">BBB Accredited Charity</a>). Robert provides a brief overview of the National Trust’s program activities and explains what they do to help strengthen donor trust.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Tkh5aObP1cg" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2acwin3">American Bird Conservancy</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2acwIKe">Patriot Outreach</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/2acwjXT">SoulMedic Media Group</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/07/wise-giving-wednesday-fundraising-for-fallen-police-officers/; 7/20/2016 1:21:52 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Article on Building Trust Appears in Advancing Philanthropy Magazine <p>I was grateful and honored to submit an article about charity transparency that appears in the summer 2016 issue of <i><a href="/link/36fc8887a1f3453ba530cee06e31893c.aspx">Advancing Philanthropy</a></i>, the quarterly magazine produced by the <a href="http://www.afpnet.org/about/?navItemNumber=500">Association of Fundraising Professionals</a>, one of the world’s oldest and largest membership organizations of fundraising professionals.&nbsp;</p> <p>In part, my intended message to the fundraising community was about the importance of viewing transparency as a vital tool that can help strengthen relationships with donors and build trust. Among other things, I also recommended that charities ensure that their appeals include clear descriptions about the intended use of requested funds, encourage feedback from contributors, and to take advantage of the communications offered in social media to expand charity outreach to its supporters.&nbsp;</p> <p>In turn, the 20 <i><a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a>,</i> which we use in evaluating charitable organizations, address transparency, in part, by requiring IRS Form 990s to be accessible on a soliciting charity’s website along with other basic facts about its program activities, governance and finances. As accountability means more than just having basic information available, our standards address a variety of other vital matters such as ensuring adequate board oversight of the charity’s operations and staff, calling for charities to produce a written report on its results / effectiveness and having privacy policies in place for donors and other information collected via its website. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>We believe our standards help charities earn the trust of contributors in a number of ways. Transparency is a first step but not the sole objective in achieving this end.</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video featuring &nbsp;David Holdworth, Executive Director of <a href="http://www.brothersbrother.org/">Brother’s Brother Foundation</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/29SkeqE">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which seeks “to promote international health and education through the efficient and effective distribution and provision of donated medical, educational, agricultural and other resources."&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1479Y_vNdNo" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/29RPF4y">Mona Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/29RP96t">PATH</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/29RPjec">Rescue:Freedom International&nbsp;</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/07/wise-giving-wednesday-article-on-building-trust-appears-in-advancing-philanthropy-magazine/; 7/13/2016 1:56:08 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Telemarketing Scam Offers “Government Grants for a Fee” <p>Today, we are told the Megamillions Jackpot in the U.S. has risen to a half-billion dollars. Who doesn’t love the idea of winning a mountain of money for a ticket that costs a couple of bucks?&nbsp; The odds of course are low – about one in 250 million.&nbsp; But we also know you are more likely to be <a href="http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/odds.shtml">struck by lightning</a> (about 1 in a million odds) than win the big booty.&nbsp;</p> <p>But what if someone were to tell you that you can skip the low lottery odds and get an unrestricted U.S. government “grant” ranging from $5,000 to $15,000?&nbsp; All you have to do is make a payment of a few hundred dollars and the money is yours! &nbsp;Yes, this is a scam offer, but I am saddened to report people across the U.S. are falling for this proposal which is made over the phone by telemarketing con artists.&nbsp; People are asked to send payments ranging from $300 to $900 and to accomplish this transfer in an odd way. While some are asked to provide their credit card or banking information, the con artists know that many are reluctant to share this information. Instead they ask call recipients to buy a gift card in the requested amount such as an iTunes, Apple, Walmart gift card or a Green Dot Debit Card and then call back the scammer with the codes for the purchased cards.&nbsp;</p> <p>In the past few weeks, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance has received a significant volume of calls from people who received such scam offers.&nbsp; About half of them recognize the offer is too good to be true while the others tell us they have already done what the scammer has asked.&nbsp; We urge them to immediately contact their banks or the purchased gift card sources and inform them, to contact their state’s office of the Attorney General, and to report the incident on <a href="https://www.bbb.org/scamtracker/us/">BBB Scam Tracker</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>The sad irony about government grants is that in many communities, charities are struggling due to cutbacks in state and local government grants that in some cases provide the majority of the charity’s revenues to carry out their missions. &nbsp;While these charities struggle to seek other sources of revenue to continue their work, con artists are fooling people into believing that government grants are being given to anyone who wants them. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video featuring &nbsp;Dr. Michael Jacobsen, Executive Director of <a href="http://www.cspinet.org/">Center for Science in the Public Interest</a>, (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/29rSEjV">BBB Accredited Charity</a>).&nbsp;The Center seeks to conduct research and advocacy programs in health and nutrition, and to provide consumers with current, useful information about their health and well-being.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/QT5dGTJctVA" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/29rSWqV">Last Chance for Animals</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/29rTygn">National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/29rT2yN">Near East Foundation</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/07/wise-giving-wednesday-telemarketing-scam-offers-government-grants-for-a-fee/; 7/6/2016 2:22:33 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Donation Tips for West Virginia Floods <p><strong>Arlington, VA </strong>–&nbsp;With nearly two dozen dead and more than 1,200 homes destroyed, the floods in West Virginia are among the most deadly ever to hit the United States. As always with a natural disaster, generous individuals are looking for ways to help the injured and those who have lost their homes. BBB Wise Giving Alliance, however, advises donors to be wary of questionable solicitations and to avoid donating to poorly managed relief efforts.&nbsp;</p> <p>“Many people want to help in any way they can,” said Frank Cilona, president and CEO of BBB Serving Canton Region and Greater West Virginia. “Unfortunately, scam artists also strike during these tragedies. Please check with BBB before donating to causes that claim they are helping the victims of West Virginia.”</p> <p>“Everyone would like their donations to go where they can do the most good,” said H. Art Taylor, president and CEO of BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB WGA). “To make sure your gifts go to those who need them most, donors need to follow some key rules about supporting disaster relief.”</p> <p>BBB WGA suggests that before you choose a charity to give to, read its Disaster Relief Donations tips (below) and remember to check out the charity on <a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">Give.org</a>. BBB WGA has a list of nationally soliciting charities that have been accredited by BBB WGA (i.e., meet all&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">20 BBB Standard for Charity Accountability</a>), and indicate that they are collecting contributions to assist West Virginia relief efforts. The list, which will be updated as more charities join the efforts, is available at <a href="/link/531d643c91f34c648c6a67f44bb8019b.aspx">bbb.org/WVfloods</a>. BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers donors these tips for disaster relief giving:</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Be cautious when giving online</span>.</strong> Be cautious about spam messages and emails that claim to link to a relief organization. If you want to give to a charity involved in relief efforts, go directly to the charity’s website.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Understand crowdfunding</span>.</strong> Keep in mind that some crowdfunding sites do very little vetting of individuals who decide to post for assistance after a disaster, and it is often difficult for donors to verify trustworthiness of crowdfunding requests for support. In contrast, some of the crowdfunding sites run by charitable organizations, such as <a href="http://www.GlobalGiving.org">GlobalGiving.org</a>, have a defined verification procedure.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Rely on expert opinion when it comes to evaluating a charity</span>.</strong> Be cautious when relying on third-party recommendations such as bloggers or other websites, as they may not have fully researched the relief organizations they list. The public can go to <a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">Give.org</a> to research relief organizations and other charities to verify that they are accredited by the BBB which means they meet the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Be wary of claims that 100 percent of donations will assist relief victims</span>.</strong> Despite what an organization might claim, charities have fund raising and administrative costs. Even a credit card donation will involve, at a minimum, a processing fee. If a charity claims 100 percent of collected funds will be assisting disaster victims, the truth is that the organization is still probably incurring fund raising and administrative expenses. It may use some of its other funds to pay these costs, but the expenses will still be incurred.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Find out if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the impacted areas</span>.</strong> Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to bring in new aid workers to provide assistance quickly. See if the charity’s website clearly describes what the charity can do to address immediate needs.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups</span>. </strong>Some charities may be raising money to pass along to relief organizations. If so, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and giving directly to those that have a presence in the region. Or, at a minimum, check out the ultimate recipients of these donations to see whether they are equipped to provide aid effectively.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations</span>.</strong> In-kind drives for food and clothing, while well intentioned, may not necessarily be the quickest way to help those in need – unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid properly. Ask the charity about its transportation and distribution plans. Be wary of those who are not experienced in disaster relief assistance.</p> <p>West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant has issued a <a href="http://www.sos.wv.gov/news/topics/business-licensing-charities/Pages/Secretary-Tennant-Encourages-Wise-Giving-During-State-of-Emergency.aspx">similar warning</a> about emergency giving and asks anyone who comes across a potentially fraudulent charity to contact the Investigations Office at 304-558-6000.</p> <p><b><br /></b><strong>ABOUT BBB WGA:</strong><br />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, results 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 <a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">Give.org</a>.</p> <p><strong>ABOUT BBB: </strong><br />For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2015, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at <a href="/link/5c6878613f374fde9f6464d3e8edc230.aspx">bbb.org</a>. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as home to its national and international programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation.</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/06/wise-giving-wednesday-donation-tips-for-west-virginia-floods/; 6/29/2016 11:20:55 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: The Summer Heat and Firefighting Organizations <p>The summer heat wave is hitting parts of the United States with wildfires in California and especially across Arizona where temperatures have exceeded 115 degrees. As these events unfold, I am reminded of the hardships endured by firefighters seeking to control these blazes. Public sympathy for these brave public servants has always been high but these challenging fires certainly place a spotlight on their important role.&nbsp; So, it is no wonder why the donating public responds generously when approached to support firefighter and police organizations.&nbsp; Unfortunately, questionable solicitors seeking to take advantage of this public sympathy, have also been a continuing cause of frustration as well.&nbsp; To help avoid potential pitfalls, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers this advice.&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>Don’t assume that the words "firefighter or "police" in an organization's name means your local police force or fire department is involved.&nbsp;</li> <li>Ask for specifics about the programs your donation would support. Appeals are sometimes vague on this point.</li> <li>Don’t be pressured into giving on the spot. Sympathy for the cause is no reason to forgo checking out the charity.</li> <li>Don’t believe the suggestion (it’s illegal) that your donation will give you “special treatment” from firefighters or police.</li> <li>Telemarketing, used by many police and fire organizations, can be costly. If solicited by phone, ask for financial information that will enable you to check this out.</li> <li>Don’t assume that your contribution will be tax deductible as a charitable gift. Police and firefighter organizations may be of many types, not all with the same deductibility status.</li> <li>See if the Better Business Bureau in your area has a report about the organization.</li> </ul> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide the following video that features Chuck Scofield, Chief Development Officer of <a href="https://www.nokidhungry.org/">Share Our Strength</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/28NKgd2">BBB Accredited Charity</a>.) &nbsp;Among other things, Share Our Strength carries out a No Kid Hungry campaign that seeks to engage the public to make ending child hunger a national priority.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8wDkbV8B5HE" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include: &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/28NIV5S">Freedom from Religion Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/28NJc91">Marine Mammal Center</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/28NJ7lA">Nature Conservancy</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to <a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a> if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/06/wise-giving-wednesday-the-summer-heat-and-firefighting-organizations/; 6/22/2016 11:20:01 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Tragedy Fundraising, Technology & Collaboration <p>It is still difficult for many of us to emotionally recover from what happened at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando this past Sunday. So many killed, so many injured and so many families and loved ones left devastated.&nbsp; While the law enforcement investigations are ongoing and the story continues to unfold, it is heartening to see the outpouring of support and generosity that has emerged in response.&nbsp; The one fundraising effort that is getting the lions share of attention is the <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/pulsevictimsfund">Equality Florida Victims Fund</a> on <a href="http://www.bbb.org/sdoc/business-reviews/internet-services/gofundme-com-in-san-diego-ca-171998676/">GoFundMe.com</a>, a crowdfunding website, which as of this morning has raised $4.2 million towards its $5 million goal.&nbsp;</p> <p>This fundraising success provides us with several lessons. One is that crowdfunding websites provide both charities and individuals with the ability to quickly create a &nbsp;vehicle to raise money within hours after a tragedy or a disaster.&nbsp; Individuals seeking to make donations in support of victims and their families may not know which charities are engaged in relief, but they know the crowdfunding website. &nbsp;However, there are cautions that donors should keep in mind as well.&nbsp; A crowdfunding request by an established charity provides an opportunity for donors to vet the organization before making a gift, but crowdfunding requests made by individuals or families are a challenge to substantiate. Not all crowdfunding websites do a good job of screening requests that get posted.&nbsp; There have been media reports of suspicious postings for the Orlando tragedy that were eventually taken down.&nbsp;</p> <p>Equality Florida [which consists of Equality Florida Institute, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and a related 501(c)(4) civil rights advocacy group, <a href="http://www.eqfl.org/">Equality Florida Action</a>] is dedicated to equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community throughout the state of Florida. &nbsp;It produced the posting on the <a href="http://www.bbb.org/sdoc/business-reviews/internet-services/gofundme-com-in-san-diego-ca-171998676/">GoFundMe.com</a> website but also decided to collaborate with another organization, the <a href="https://victimsofcrime.org/">National Center for Victims of Crime</a>, which has experience in establishing special funding for crime victims. This type of special collaboration is a great example of how organizations can work together to combine their outreach and expertise to help address an important need.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>The BBB Wise Giving Alliance will seek to produce current reports on both the Equality Florida Institute and the National Center for Victims of Crime.&nbsp; In the meantime, donors can access our <a href="http://give.org/news-updates/news/2016/06/bbb-offers-ten-giving-tips-for-orlando-tragedy/">ten tips</a> on giving in response to the Orlando tragedy.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video featuring Collin O’Mara, President &amp; CEO of the <a href="http://www.nwf.org/">National Wildlife Federation</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1Ud16aF">BBB Accredited Charity</a>).&nbsp; As you will see in Collin’s video interview, the National Wildlife Federation is engaged in public outreach in seeking to get children and families more connected with nature, wildlife and the outdoors. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pG9SKRsy2tA" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1UcTuF3">Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1UcUbOz">International Campaign for Tibet</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1UcVfCc">Orphan Grain Train&nbsp;</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/06/wise-giving-wednesday-tragedy-fundraising-technology-collaboration/; 6/15/2016 11:59:05 AM BBB Ofrece 10 Consejos al Apoyar a las Víctimas de la Tragedia en Orlando <p><strong>13 de junio de 2016</strong></p> <p><strong>Phoenix, AZ –</strong> &nbsp;A raíz de la masacre&nbsp;más mortífera en la historia de EEUU, el Buró de Mejores Negocios (BBB, por sus siglas en inglés) del Centro de la Florida y BBB Wise Giving Alliance alertan sobre posibles estafas relacionadas con la recaudación de fondos para ayudar a las víctimas y a sus familias. &nbsp;</p> <p>“Usualmente, la tragedia inspira el dar y esta terrible tragedia está atrayendo increíble respuesta de personas en todas partes del mundo”, dijo H. Art Taylor, presidente de BBB Wise Giving Alliance. “La mejor manera de ayudar a las víctimas, sus familias, y a la gente de Orlando es asegurándose de que sus donaciones lleguen a donde pertenecen. Ya estamos alertados a estafas ‘click-bait’ y peticiones dudosas, y anticipamos estafas y fraude. A los generosos donantes, recomendamos dar sabiamente para que su apoyo haga el mas bien posible”.</p> <p>Holly Salmos, presidente de BBB del Centro de la Florida, dijo, “El mundo rápidamente apoyó a City Beautiful y a las víctimas de este horrendo crimen. A los que quieran apoyar mediante donativos, les pedimos tomar precaución. Los estafadores dependen de las emociones fuertes que, frecuentemente, resultan después de eventos trágicos”.</p> <p>BBB Wise Giving Alliance pide a los donantes dar sabiamente y evitar a los que buscan aprovecharse de la generosidad de otros.</p> <p><strong>10 Consejos para Dar Sabiamente</strong></p> <ol> <li><strong>Investigue Antes de Dar<br /></strong>Tome tiempo para investigar a cualquier organización caritativa para que evite gastar su generosidad donando a un esfuerzo cuestionable o mal administrado. Sea proactivo y busque organizaciones caritativas confiables.<br /><br /></li> <li><strong>Revise la Registración Gubernamental<br /></strong>Casi 40 de los 50 estados requieren que las organizaciones caritativas estén registradas con una agencia gubernamental del estado (usualmente una división de la Oficina del Procurador General) antes de solicitar donaciones. Si la organización caritativa no está registrada, podría ser una alerta.<br /><br /></li> <li><strong>Respete a las Víctimas y a sus Familiares<br /></strong>Las organizaciones que recaudan fondos deben obtener permiso de los familiares para usar el nombre de las víctimas o cualquier fotografía. Algunas organizaciones caritativas que recaudaron fondos para las víctimas del teatro en Colorado no obtuvieron permiso y fueron criticados por los familiares de las víctimas.<br /><br /></li> <li><strong>Pregunte Como Serán Utilizadas las Donaciones<br /></strong>Cuidado si obtiene una respuesta genérica a como se utilizaran los fondos. Pregunte, ¿cómo ayudaran las donaciones a las víctimas? Algunos donantes asumen que los fondos recaudados con rapidez serán distribuidos de la misma manera. Pregunte cuando se usaran los fondos recaudados.<br /><br /></li> <li><strong>Fondos de Asistencia Establecidos por las Familias<br /></strong>Algunas familias decidirán establecer su propio fondo de asistencia. Tome en cuenta que estos fondos tal vez no estén registrados como organizaciones caritativas. Asegúrese que los fondos recaudados sean recibidos y administrados por un tercero como un banco, contador público o abogado; esto ofrece supervisión y asegurará que los fondos sean utilizados apropiadamente (para gastos funerarios, consejería, u otras necesidades).<br /><br /></li> <li><strong>Organizaciones de Abogacía</strong><br />Las tragedias que involucran actos violentos de armas también generan peticiones de varias organizaciones de abogacía sobre el uso de armas. Los donantes pueden apoyar tales esfuerzos pero deben tomar en cuenta que algunos de estas no son organizaciones exentas de impuestos. Tenga cuidado con grupos de abogacía nuevos ya que pueden ser difíciles de investigar.<br /><br /></li> <li><strong>Precauciones el Línea<br /></strong>Nunca haga clic en enlaces a páginas web desconocidas enviadas por en mensajes de texto o correo electrónico. Los enlaces quizá lo lleven a una página parecida pero falsa donde le pedirán su información financiera o bajarán malware a su computadora. No asuma que las recomendaciones en Facebook, blogs, o en las redes sociales han sido investigadas.<br /><br /></li> <li><strong>Transparencia Financiera|<br /></strong>Después de recaudar fondos para una tragedia, es importante que las organizaciones compartan como utilizaron los fondos. Las organizaciones transparentes comparten la información en sus sitios web para que el público sepa y no tenga que esperar a que los estados financieros auditados estén disponibles en el futuro.<br /><br /></li> <li><strong>Organizaciones Nuevas<br /></strong>Aunque es preferencia personal, tome en cuenta que una organización caritativa establecida tal vez tenga más experiencia y un historial que ayude en su evolución. Las organizaciones nuevas tal vez sean bien intencionadas pero no bien administradas.<br /><br /></li> <li><strong>Deducciones de Impuestos<br /></strong>No todas las organizaciones que recaudan fondos para una tragedia son exentas de impuestos bajo la sección 501(c)(3) del Código Interno de Ingresos. Los donantes pueden apoyar a estas organizaciones pero deben tomar en cuenta que no podrán deducir su donativo en sus impuestos federales. Adicionalmente, las contribuciones restringidas a un individuo o familia no son deducibles como donativos caritativos aunque la organización que las reciba sea sin fines de lucro.&nbsp;</li> </ol> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Sobre BBB Wise Giving Alliance (La Alianza para Dar Sabiamente)<br /></strong>BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB WGA) evaluá a organizaciones caritativas basándose en 20 estándares holísticos que cubren gobernación, efectividad de reportes, finanzas, recaudación de fondos, peticiones, entre otros. BBB WGA produce reportes sobre organizaciones caritativas nacionales, mientras BBBs locales administran los reportes locales – todos los reportes están disponibles en Give.org.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/06/bbb-ofrece-10-consejos-al-apoyar-a-las-victimas-de-la-tragedia-en-orlando/; 6/13/2016 4:20:25 PM BBB Offers Ten Giving Tips for Orlando Tragedy <p><strong>Arlington, VA –</strong> In the wake of the largest mass shooting in U.S. history, the BBB Serving Central Florida and the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, the national charity monitoring arm of the Better Business Bureau, caution donors about potential red flags in fund raising to help Orlando victims and their families, and to be aware of the different circumstances that often emerge in tragedy-related philanthropy.</p> <p>“Tragedy inspires people to give, and this terrible tragedy is drawing incredible response already from people all around the world” said H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO, BBB Wise Giving Alliance “The best way to help the victims, their families, and the people of Orlando is to make sure that donations end up where they belong. We are already hearing about click-bait schemes and questionable solicitations, and we expect there will be numerous scams and frauds. We urge those generous donors to give wisely so their gifts can do the most good.”</p> <p>Holly Salmons, President &amp; CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Central Florida, notes that “The world has rushed to support the City Beautiful and the victims on this heinous crime. We encourage those who want to show their support through donations to do so with caution. Scammers depend on heightened emotion and often follow closely behind tragic events.”</p> <p>BBB Wise Giving Alliance urges donors to give thoughtfully and avoid those seeking to take advantage of the generosity of others. Here are <strong><i>“Ten Tips for Giving with Confidence”</i> –</strong></p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">1. Thoughtful Giving</span></strong></p> <p>Take the time to check out the charity to avoid wasting your generosity by donating to a questionable or poorly managed effort. The first request for a donation may not be the best choice. Be proactive and find trusted charities that are providing assistance.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">2. Government Registration</span></strong></p> <p>About 40 of the 50 states in the U.S. require charities to register with a state government agency (usually a division of the State Attorney General’s office) before they solicit for charitable gifts (in Canada, charities register with the Canada Revenue Agency.)&nbsp;If the charity is not registered, that may be a significant red flag.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">3. Respecting Victims and Their Families</span></strong></p> <p>Organizations raising funds should get permission from the families to use either the names of the victims and/or any photographs of them. Some charities raising funds for the Colorado movie theater victims did not do this and were the subject of criticism from victims’ families.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">4. How Will Donations Be Used?</span></strong></p> <p>Watch out for vague appeals that don’t identify the intended use of funds. For example, how will the donations help victims’ families? Also, unless told otherwise, donors will assume that funds collected quickly in the wake of a tragedy will be spent just as quickly. See if the appeal identifies when the collected funds will be used.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">5. What if a Family Sets Up Its Own Assistance Fund</span>?</strong></p> <p>Some families may decide to set up their own assistance funds. Be mindful that such funds may not be set up as charities. Also, make sure that collected monies are received and administered by a third party such as a bank, CPA or lawyer. This will help provide oversight and ensure the collected funds are used appropriately (e.g., paying for funeral costs, counseling, and other tragedy-related needs.)</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">6. Advocacy Organizations</span></strong></p> <p>Tragedies that involve violent acts with firearms can also generate requests from a variety of advocacy organizations that address gun use. Donors can support these efforts as well but note that some of these advocacy groups are not tax exempt as charities. Also, watch out for newly created advocacy groups that will be difficult to check out.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">7. Online Cautions</span></strong></p> <p>Never click on links to charities on unfamiliar websites or in texts or emails. These may take you to a lookalike website where you will be asked to provide personal financial information or to click on something that downloads harmful malware into your computer. Don’t assume that charity recommendations on Facebook, blogs or other social media have already been vetted.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">8. Financial Transparency</span></strong></p> <p>After funds are raised for a tragedy, it is even more important for organizations to provide an accounting of how funds were spent. Transparent organizations will post this information on their websites so that anyone can find out and not have to wait until the audited financial statements are available sometime in the future.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">9. Newly Created or Established Organizations</span></strong></p> <p>This is a personal giving choice, but an established charity will more likely have the experience to quickly address the circumstances and have a track record that can be evaluated. A newly formed organization may be well-meaning but will be difficult to check out and may not be well managed.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">10. Tax Deductibility</span></strong></p> <p>Not all organizations collecting funds to assist this tragedy are tax exempt as charities under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code in the U.S. (the equivalent in Canada are charities registered with the Canada Revenue Agency).&nbsp;Donors can support these other entities but keep this in mind if they want to take a deduction for income tax purposes. In addition, contributions that are donor-restricted to help a <span style="text-decoration: underline;">specific</span> individual/family are not deductible in the U.S. as charitable donations, even if the recipient organization is a charity.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>ABOUT BBB WISE GIVING ALLIANCE<br /></strong>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</p> <p><strong>ABOUT BBB<br /></strong>For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2015, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/06/bbb-offers-ten-giving-tips-for-orlando-tragedy/; 6/13/2016 10:17:37 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: School’s Out, Charity’s In <p>As the school year ends and summer vacation begins for youth across America, teenagers will engage in a variety of activities ranging from summer jobs to camps. &nbsp;One additional option for parents to consider is to encourage them to engage in philanthropy-related activities.&nbsp; It is never too early to educate youth about the important role that charity should have in their lives.&nbsp; There are a variety of options, including but not limited to:<b>&nbsp;</b></p> <p><strong>Volunteering </strong>– Some organizations have <a href="http://give.org/globalassets/wga/wise-giving-guides/winter-2009-guide-article.pdf">volunteering</a> opportunities for youth. To identify options, there are online volunteer match sites that could help. Or, one might contact the local United Way to see if they have recommendations.<b>&nbsp;</b></p> <p><strong>Philanthropy Camps</strong> – Some areas have specialty youth camps that focus on philanthropy through instruction, field trips, and games.<b>&nbsp;</b></p> <p><strong>Volunteer Vacations</strong><b> – </b>In an <a href="http://give.org/news-updates/news/2016/05/wise-giving-wednesday-summer-volunteers-for-charity/">earlier blog</a>, we addressed the issue of volunteer vacations as a means of adults to engage in philanthropy. In some instances, families may be able to bring their children as well to participate as a group.<b>&nbsp;</b></p> <p><strong>Giving Kids a Charity Budget</strong><b> – </b>Under appropriate supervision, parents might encourage philanthropy skills by proving children with a charity budget, asking them to conduct research and identify potential charities to support, and help them follow through by distributing those funds. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>No matter what options that are considered for youth engagement, we urge parents to take the time to check out the charity on <a href="http://give.org">Give.org</a>.&nbsp; Verify the charity’s &nbsp;trustworthiness and see if they meet the 20 holistic <a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">BBB Charity Standards</a>.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a related note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video featuring Jaime Berman Matyas, President and Chief Executive Officer, <a href="http://www.thesca.org/">Student Conservation Association</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1thJbUq">BBB Accredited Charity</a>.) This organization has been involved in building the next generation of conservation leaders and encouraging environmental stewardship since 1957. Among other things, it provides college and high school-aged members with hands-on conservation service opportunities in several fields.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/CVS1lMeO60s" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1thIdaR">Coptic Orphans Support Association</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1thIjzf">Islamic Relief USA</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1thImer">National Alliance to End Homelessness</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/06/wise-giving-wednesday-schools-out-charitys-in/; 6/8/2016 12:58:13 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: International Charity Accountability <p>This past week I was in Oslo, Norway participating in the Annual Meeting of the <a href="https://www.icfo.org/">International Association of Fundraising Organizations</a> (ICFO) which is an international association of 17 national charity monitoring organizations. Their members are standards-based charity reporting organizations that report on charities in other countries as we do in the United States. Last year, BBB Wise Giving Alliance was honored to <a href="http://give.org/news-updates/news/2015/06/wise-giving-wednesday-june-12th-charity-conference-highlights/">host</a> their annual gathering. This year the charity review organization in <a href="http://www.innsamlingskontrollen.no/nb/">Norway</a> (<i>Stiftelsen Innsamlingskontrollen</i>) held the proceedings.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>At this meeting, there was an initial discussion about revising the existing <a href="https://www.icfo.org/our-members/international-standards">international standards for ICFO members</a>. As an example, one possible revision identified five common broad areas that ICFO members should continue to address in the charity standards used in their respective countries. Much more deliberations and discussions will take place on this issue.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ol> <li>Governance - The charity has an independent and active governing body.</li> <li>Public Benefit - The charity’s activities are directed at fulfilling its mission.</li> <li>Financials - The charity has financial information that is complete, accurate and provides detail for donors about the use of its resources.</li> <li>Fundraising - Fundraising practices are ethical, truthful, accurate and not misleading and that fundraising costs are reasonable percentage of funds raised.</li> <li>Public information - The charity makes information about its activities and results freely available to the public<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ol> <p>In turn, our own <a href="http://give.org/for-charities/How-We-Accredit-Charities/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a> address these areas and more. Standards provide an objective and consistent framework that help not only in assuring the public of the trustworthiness of soliciting organizations but also encourage charities to strengthen their own practices.&nbsp;</p> <p>It is encouraging to know that the BBB WGA approach to charity accountability is shared around the globe by others that seek to engage in similar efforts in their own nations.&nbsp; Perhaps it should not be surprising that basic ethical practices are universally recognized as a fundamental part of acceptable philanthropic behavior.&nbsp; Charity materials should be accurate, financials should be complete, and information should be accessible.</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide the following video that features Ellie Hollander, President &amp; CEO of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/">Meals on Wheels America</a>&nbsp;(a&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/1k9WSzz">BBB Accredited Charity</a>)&nbsp;which supports more than 5,000 community-based senior nutrition programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior hunger and isolation.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/shpc3hgqAqQ" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1XPIqge">Earthwatch Institute</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1XPIblk">National Congress of Parents and Teachers</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1XPI8pQ">Stand for Children Leadership Center</a></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/06/wise-giving-wednesday-international-charity-accountability/; 6/1/2016 12:21:56 PM BBB Tips to Ensure Wise Giving on Memorial Day <p><strong>Arlington, VA &nbsp;– </strong>On Memorial Day, the holiday that seeks to pay tribute to those who gave their lives serving in the military, many of us will pay respects to those who died by responding to requests for donations by veterans and military-affiliated organizations.&nbsp; “As with any charity appeal, we urge donors to exercise caution and do some research before making a giving decision,” recommends H. Art Taylor, President and CEO, BBB Wise Giving Alliance, “Donation requests by veterans groups are high around the Memorial Day holiday.”</p> <p>As potential donors respond to appeals from such organizations, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers the following advisory tips:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Mistaken Identity:</strong> Watch out for name confusion. Many veterans charities include virtually the same words in different order or slightly different form.</li> <li><strong>Clear Program Description:</strong> Look for a clear description of the organization’s programs in its appeals and on its website. If it says it is helping veterans, does it explain how (financial assistance, shelter, counseling) and where it is doing so?</li> <li><strong>Telemarketing Cautions:</strong> Telemarketing can be a costly method of fundraising unless carefully managed. If called, do not hesitate to ask for written information on the charity’s programs and finances.</li> <li><strong>On-the-Spot Donation Decisions:</strong> Be wary of excessive pressure in fundraising. Don’t be pressured to make an immediate on-the-spot donation. Charities should welcome your gift whenever you want to send it.</li> <li><strong>Donating Used Clothing and Other Goods:</strong> &nbsp;Find out how the charity benefits from the collection and resale of used clothing and other in-kind gifts. Sometimes the charity receives only a small portion of the resale price of the item or may have a contractual arrangement to get a flat fee for every household pick-up, no matter what the contents.</li> <li><strong>Check with Outside Sources Before Giving:</strong> Visit Give.org to check out a charity’s trustworthiness by verifying if it meets the 20 <i>BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</i>. Also check with your state government’s charity registration agency, usually a division of the attorney general’s office.</li> </ul> <div class="epi-contentfragment">ROTATING-BANNER</div> <p><strong>ABOUT BBB WISE GIVING ALLIANCE</strong><b><br /></b>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 <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>.</p> <p><strong>ABOUT BBB</strong><br />For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2015, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. &nbsp;</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/05/bbb-tips-to-ensure-wise-giving-on-memorial-day/; 5/26/2016 10:17:18 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Funding Infrastructure Organizations <p>Last week, I joined 21 other organizational leaders in signing a <a href="http://www.effectivephilanthropy.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Investing-in-Infrastructure_digital.pdf?__hssc=81778888.8.1463493758723&amp;__hstc=81778888.8f0007573ac5612b0ca1d160cced079b.1455648307002.1463431457659.1463493758723.111&amp;__hsfp=2617444982&amp;hsCtaTracking=9d1e008e-04c0-46e3-8abc-0b0fc9079d99%7C8f2fed12-c5f4-4b18-8983-9de961ff1956">letter</a> that was sent to 1400 foundations. You may be aware of it. The aim of the letter was simple: we want foundations to invest 1% of their grant budgets in organizations that work to improve the performance of the non-profit sector. These organizations in part make up what is commonly referred to as the non-profit infrastructure.&nbsp;</p> <p>They support effective management, collection of data, measure performance, educate boards, enable efficient and professional fundraising, and in our case, educate charities and donors about what is required for trustworthiness. These organizations are vital to the success of non-profit work but are often neglected by funders when it comes to supporting their financial needs. Funders make an assumption that this work will somehow continue at a high level without their support.&nbsp;</p> <p>The sector needs more foundations to fund non-profit infrastructure. The challenge is that many foundations have set up funding guidelines that preclude them from supporting infrastructure organizations. We hope that where this is the case, that foundation executives and board members will consider amending those guidelines to enable them to support the important services non-profit infrastructure organizations deliver.&nbsp;</p> <p>If you are a charity and have a chance to speak with a foundation leader, mention the letter to them and ask them to consider setting aside funds for infrastructure. If you are a grant maker, I hope this will stimulate a dialogue in your foundation that leads to greater support for these organizations.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video featuring Scott Jackson, President &amp; CEO of <a href="http://charity.org/">Global Impact</a> (a <a href="/link/6de9897c2d424957b59b576f71b6ee8d.aspx?epsremainingpath=national/relief-and-development/global-impact-in-alexandria-va-1050">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which works with approximately 450 public and private sector workplace giving campaigns to generate funding for more than 120 international charities. Global Impact also serves as administrator for the Combined Federal Campaign-Overseas&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ze9IuOvbarE" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1VwHXi3">International Aid</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1TwF8LU">Save the Children Federation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1TA972V">World Vision</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/05/wise-giving-wednesday-funding-infrastructure-organizations/; 5/25/2016 10:10:23 AM BBB WGA Issues Report on Clinton Foundation <p>May 24, 2016 - The BBB Wise Giving Alliance has updated its charity report on the Clinton Foundation (aka Bill, Hillary &amp; Chelsea Clinton Foundation.) This was an evaluation conducted for the sole purpose of determining if the Foundation meets the <a href="/link/bf08473b31114ffdb14b01e3dd6bc76f.aspx">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a>. The Foundation cooperated with the review and provided the information we needed to complete our report.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Clinton Foundation meets 17 of the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. The three standards it does not meet are #4, #6 and #7.&nbsp;</p> <p>Standard #4 addresses Board Compensation. The standard states: “Not more than one or 10% (whichever is greater) directly or indirectly compensated person(s) serving as voting member(s) of the board. Compensated members shall not serve as the board's chair or treasurer.” The Clinton Foundation did not meet this standard because the organization's board chair is compensated as a Foundation staff member.&nbsp;</p> <p>Standard #6 calls for a Board Policy on Assessing Effectiveness. The Standard states the organization should have a written board policy of assessing, no less than every two years, the organization’s performance and effectiveness.&nbsp; The Foundation does not currently have such a board policy but plans to present one to the Board at its next meeting in September 2016.&nbsp;</p> <p>Standard #7 calls for an Effectiveness Report. The Standard states the organization should “Submit to the organization's governing body, for its approval, a written report that outlines the results of the performance and effectiveness assessment and recommendations for future actions.” The Clinton Foundation told BBB WGA they are working on developing an effectiveness&nbsp;assessment report for their board and plan to present it at its next meeting in September 2016.&nbsp;</p> <p>These three matters are not new, and were addressed in previous BBB WGA charity reports.&nbsp;The Foundation has been in ongoing conversations with BBB WGA and has made progress in addressing Standards issues brought to its attention.</p> <p>The Clinton Foundation’s <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1U7bEBD">BBB WGA charity report</a>, along with details about BBB Charity standards, is available at <a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">Give.org</a>.&nbsp;</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/05/bbb-wga-issues-report-on-clinton-foundation/; 5/23/2016 2:13:48 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: New Data on the Influence of Corporate Giving <p>While 8 out of 10 Baby Boomers currently give to charity, new data from a Porter Novelli Styles survey shows that half of millennials do not give <i>any</i> money to charity.</p> <p>Further, millennials may also be impacting another revenue stream to charities—corporate giving. Corporations often donate to charities to create goodwill among their consumers, but a recent Porter Noveli Styles survey shows that nearly 70 percent of millennials say corporate giving doesn’t impact their buying decisions. If known, this could lead companies to alter their charitable giving strategy.</p> <p>Corporate contributions have typically comprised about 5% of total giving in the United States, but charities have long sought to grow that figure. A reason used to encourage growth was the interest millennials seemed to have in corporations that distinguished themselves with contributions to charity. This data throws a bit of cold water on that argument.&nbsp;</p> <p>Though these trends could impact charities’ revenue streams, they could present an opportunity for charities and corporations to work together and redefine the landscape of corporate giving.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 1px solid black;" alt="" src="/link/a06deb79bac143739dad831b88fbfea0.aspx" height="750" width="500" /></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/25biQs3">Appalachia Service Project</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/25binGa">My Stuff Bags Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/25biQbE">Rails-to-Trails Conservancy</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/05/wise-giving-wednesday-new-data-on-the-influence-of-corporate-giving/; 5/18/2016 3:10:14 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Summer Volunteers for Charity <p>As we enter the summer months, many have thoughts of taking time off by going to a sandy beach, visiting a favorite city or just relaxing at home.&nbsp; But thousands of people seek a more philanthropic objective by taking a volunteer vacation either in the U.S. or abroad.&nbsp; Professors, veterans, business people, government employees, health care professionals and many more, some in retirement and some far from it, some solo and some with their families have engaged in summer volunteer activities. Activities can range anywhere from teaching English to assembling storage sheds, building ramps for disabled persons, or playing with children in an orphanage.&nbsp; In many cases, these activities require participants to pay for their travel and in some instances their room and board as well. Of course prices can vary considerably depending on the destination, length of stay, and other factors.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Before filling your backpack and duffel bag, be mindful to check out the charity on Give.org to verify if it meets the <a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">BBB Charity Standards</a>, and take other precautions such as:</p> <ul> <li>Verifying who pays for transportation</li> <li>Making sure your passport is in order</li> <li>Seeing if immunizations are needed</li> <li>Checking out if your medical insurance covers costs incurred abroad</li> <li>Finding out about the living conditions, physical requirements, and climate</li> </ul> <p>Examples of BBB Accredited Charities that offer volunteer opportunities included, but are not limited to:&nbsp; <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1TA9pXz">Cross Cultural Solutions</a>, <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1TA9mey">American Jewish World Service</a>, <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1TA9tGW">Habitat for Humanity International</a>, and the <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1TA9s5N">Primate Rescue Center</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course, not all volunteering opportunities involve significant expense commitments, see our past <a href="http://give.org/globalassets/wga/wise-giving-guides/winter-2009-guide-article.pdf">Wise Giving Guide</a> magazine cover story for additional tips and volunteering advice.</p> <hr /> <p>On a related note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video featuring Nancy Kelly, MHS, Executive Director of <a href="https://hvousa.org/">Health Volunteers Overseas</a> (HVO) (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1TA9vi3">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which seeks to improve the availability and quality of health care through education, training and professional development of the health workforce in resource-scarce countries. The organization reports that each year, health professionals complete more than 500 HVO volunteer assignments, contributing over 7,000 days of volunteer service at more than 80 HVO project sites around the world.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xWGQXiqyAAA" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1TA9cnm">Pesticide Action Network North America</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1TA95Z1">Project Peanut Butter</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1TA972V">World Vision</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/05/wise-giving-wednesday-summer-volunteers-for-charity/; 5/11/2016 1:45:34 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Designated Donation Days <p>Since its start in 2012, the <i><a href="http://www.givingtuesday.org/">Giving Tuesday</a></i> campaign, initiated by the 92<sup>nd</sup> Street Y in New York City, helped create a designated day for giving on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the U.S. It has since grown into a social media powerhouse that helped raise $116 million in 71 countries and generated 114 billion impressions on Twitter and reached over 917,000 Facebook users. (For the past two years, BBB Wise Giving Alliance and Better Business Bureaus advised participants in this campaign to give wisely by verifying if their selected charities meet the <a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">BBB Charity Standards</a>).&nbsp;</p> <p>Seeing the success of this phenomenon, a number of new “giving days” have emerged.&nbsp; In order to prompt alumni giving, especially from younger graduates, various college and universities have created their own special days of giving.&nbsp; As reported in <i><a href="https://philanthropy.com/">The Chronicle of Philanthropy</a></i>&nbsp;this month, the University of Michigan was able to raise $4.4 million in 24 hours for its designated giving day in 2015. Some schools reportedly were seeking to increase donor participation rather than just dollars.&nbsp;</p> <p>Not only charities, but fundraising companies are also seeking to engage in giving days. For example, Kimbia, an online fundraising and crowdfunding platform, working with The K Foundation, a donor advised fund, helped start &nbsp;its own <i><a href="http://www.givelocalamerica.org/">Give Local America</a></i> campaign two years ago and had Tuesday, May 3, 2016 as its Give Local America day. The campaign also worked with <a href="http://www.cof.org/community-foundation-locato">community foundations</a> and provided participating communities with logos, templates and other graphics to help carry out local campaigns for the May 3<sup>rd</sup> event. (<i><a href="https://philanthropy.com/article/Technology-Failure-Cripples/236359?cid=cpfd_home">The Chronicle of Philanthropy</a></i> reports that Kimbia’s online giving software experienced problems during this May 3<sup>rd</sup> campaign that impacted the ability of many donors to contribute.)</p> <p>As future giving calendars are likely to see even more designated giving days, BBB Wise Giving Alliance reminds potential donors to verify the trustworthiness of charities by visiting Give.org to verify if the charity meets our <a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">20 holistic standards</a>.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video featuring Dr. Preston W. Campbell III, &nbsp;President and CEO of <a href="https://www.cff.org/">Cystic Fibrosis Foundation &nbsp;</a>(a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/26Tmo0j">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which seeks to cure cystic fibrosis and to provide all people with the disease the opportunity to lead full, productive lives by funding research and drug development, promoting individualized treatment, and ensuring access to high quality, specialized care.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/IW11995xtV8" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/26TlH7e">American Rivers</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/26TlmBH">CRISTA Ministries</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/26TlwZQ">TechnoServe</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/05/wise-giving-wednesday-designated-donation-days/; 5/4/2016 10:43:59 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Value of U.S. Volunteer Time <p>As reported by <a href="https://www.independentsector.org/volunteer_time">Independent Sector</a> (a leadership network for nonprofits, foundations and corporations committed to advancing the common good) earlier this month, about 62.8 million Americans or 25.3 percent of the adult population, gave 7.9 billion hours of volunteer service worth $184 million in 2014. These stats were developed by the <a href="https://www.volunteeringinamerica.gov/">Corporation for National and Community Service</a>. &nbsp;The estimated value of this volunteer time is $23.56 per hour.&nbsp; The states with the six highest values of volunteer time are the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Washington, Connecticut, California and New York.&nbsp;</p> <p>As organizations seek to make the best use of available resources, volunteering is being recognized as an increasingly important and valuable way of engaging supporters, particularly among Millennial donors who may not be able to make cash donations. As donors consider volunteer options for the charities they care about, we also urge them to verify the charity’s trustworthiness by accessing our <a href="http://give.org/charity-reviews/national/">reports</a> to verify if it meets the <a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a>.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video featuring an interview with Peter Bale, CEO of <a href="https://www.publicintegrity.org/">The Center for Public Integrity</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1TwF3bd">BBB Accredited Charity</a>.) The Center conducts nonpartisan, independent investigative journalism about money in politics, the environment, labor, juvenile justice, national security, business, and health.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/cOQoXVDnwIE" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1TwF3bd">Center for Public Integrity</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1TwF52P">Fund for Animals</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1TwF8LU">Save the Children Federation</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/04/wise-giving-wednesday-value-of-u.s.-volunteer-time/; 4/27/2016 2:51:34 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Earth Day & Philanthropy <p>Friday, April 22<sup>nd</sup> is the 46<sup>th</sup> Earth Day event which started in 1970. This environmental-focused movement has grown considerably over the years from &nbsp;gatherings at colleges, universities and schools in the U.S. to a global activity that, according to <a href="http://www.earthday.org/earth-day/earth-day-toolkit/#1">Earth Day Network</a>, involves “…over one billion people in 192 countries… making it the largest civic observance in the world.”&nbsp; In part, what makes this Earth Day special is that the <a href="https://treaties.un.org/pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&amp;mtdsg_no=XXVII-7-d&amp;chapter=27&amp;lang=en">Paris Agreement</a> will be signed that day, which seeks to lower greenhouse gas emissions and is intended to be an important step in addressing global warming. Over 100 countries are expected to sign this agreement.&nbsp;</p> <p>According to <a href="http://givingusa.org/giving-usa-2015-press-release-giving-usa-americans-donated-an-estimated-358-38-billion-to-charity-in-2014-highest-total-in-reports-60-year-history/">Giving USA</a> of the $358.38 billion Americans who contributed to charity in 2014, organizations addressing environmental/animal issues comprised $10.5 billion, which represented a 5.3 percent increase over the previous year when adjusted for inflation. In turn, the number of environmental organizations has grown over time as well. According to data accessible at the <a href="http://www.urban.org/policy-centers/center-nonprofits-and-philanthropy">Center for Nonprofits and Philanthropy</a> at the Urban Institute there are over 35,000 environmental organizations in the U.S. in 2016 which represents a 59% growth over the total number of such groups that existed in 1996.&nbsp;</p> <p>As our attention and sympathy is drawn to environmental issues this Earth Day, we encourage donors to also verify the trustworthiness of environmental/animal groups by identifying which organizations meet the 20 <i><a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></i>.&nbsp; For your easy reference, here is a list of such organizations.&nbsp;</p> <table style="width: 822px; height: 1186px; margin-left: 60px;" border="0"> <tbody style="margin-left: 60px;"> <tr style="height: 6px;"> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1SZlyFb">African Wildlife Foundation</a></p> </td> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rjZKy4">Alaska Conservation Foundation</a></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="height: 6px;"> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rjZVcU">Amazon Conservation Team</a></p> </td> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk08wC">Appalachian Trail Conservancy</a></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="height: 6px;"> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk0cfV">Arbor Day Foundation</a></p> </td> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk0CTt">Center for Watershed Protection</a></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="height: 6px;"> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk0JhU">Chesapeake Bay Foundation</a></p> </td> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk0N1a">Civil War Preservation Trust</a></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="height: 6px;"> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk0Utx">Conservation Fund</a></p> </td> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk12t1">Defenders of Wildlife</a></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="height: 6px;"> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk14RL">Ducks Unlimited</a></p> </td> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk1aIR">EarthJustice</a></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="height: 6px;"> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk1eZg">EarthShare</a></p> </td> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk1mrD">Earthworks</a></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="height: 6px;"> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk1sQ8">Food and Water Watch</a></p> </td> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk1wiF">Friends of the Earth</a></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="height: 6px;"> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk1xmV">Friends of Trees</a></p> </td> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk1Ga0">Galapagos Conservancy</a></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="height: 6px;"> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk1Huz">Grand Canyon Trust</a></p> </td> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk1OpL">Greenpeace Fund</a></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="height: 6px;"> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk1Rlw">International Rivers</a></p> </td> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk1VSu">Jane Goodall Institute</a></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="height: 6px;"> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk24VR">Jewish National Fund</a></p> </td> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk2bAX">Land Trust Alliance</a></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="height: 6px;"> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk31NW">National Environmental Education and Training Foundation</a></p> </td> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk39gj">National Park Trust</a></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="height: 6px;"> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk3bF0">Natural Resources Defense Council</a></p> </td> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk3iR6">Nature Conservancy</a></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="height: 6px;"> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk3obm">Ocean Conservancy</a></p> </td> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk3qjk">Oceana</a></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="height: 6px;"> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk3z6B">Pacific Crest Trail Association</a></p> </td> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk3yzv">Rails-to-Trails Conservancy</a></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="height: 6px;"> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk3Ia2">Rainforest Action Network</a></p> </td> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk3L5I">Rainforest Alliance</a></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="height: 6px;"> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk3QpT">Save the Redwoods League</a></p> </td> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk3Sy7">Sierra Club Foundation</a></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="height: 6px;"> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk3WOu">Student Conservation Association</a></p> </td> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk43JL">Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership</a></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="height: 6px;"> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk4aFh">Trees, Water and People</a></p> </td> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk4bZX">Union of Concerned Scientists</a></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="height: 6px;"> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk4fbT">Waterkeeper Alliance</a></p> </td> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk4kwq">Wilderness Society</a></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="height: 6px;"> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk4qEn">World Resources Institute</a></p> </td> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk4t2W">World Wildlife Fund</a></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="height: 6px;"> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk4uDS">Yellowstone Park Foundation</a></p> </td> <td width="319" valign="top" style="margin-left: 60px;"> <p style="margin-left: 60px;"><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1rk4xQb">Yosemite Conservancy</a></p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a related note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video featuring Keith Laughlin, President of &nbsp;<a href="http://www.railstotrails.org/">Rails-to-Trails Conservancy</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1YH2NdP">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which is celebrating its 30<sup>th</sup> anniversary this year.&nbsp; This organization partners with communities to transform unused railroad corridors into multi-use trails that protect landscapes, revitalize local economies and give Americans the opportunity to lead healthy, active lives.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1y2-glej9ZY" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/04/wise-giving-wednesday-earth-day-philanthropy/; 4/20/2016 11:50:06 AM Ecuador Earthquake Donation Tips <p><strong>Arlington, VA –</strong> With hundreds killed and thousands injured by the devastating earthquake in Ecuador over the weekend, generous Americans are already seeking ways to support those in need through donations. BBB Wise Giving Alliance advises donors to avoid being taken advantage of by questionable solicitations or wasting their money on poorly managed relief efforts.&nbsp;</p> <p>“The news out of Ecuador is heartbreaking,” said H. Art Taylor, president and CEO of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. “People want to help as soon as possible, and that is wonderful, but donors need to follow some key rules about supporting disaster relief so that their gifts get to those who need them most.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Across the world, relief and development organizations and governments have begun responding to the earthquake in Ecuador. American charities have also begun accepting donations to assist in the region. BBB WGA suggests that before you choose a charity to give to, read this <a href="http://give.org/for-donors/about-specific-giving-guidance/disaster-relief-donations/">Disaster Relief Donations</a> tip (below) and remember to check out the charity on&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org.</a>&nbsp;</p> <p>BBB WGA has a list of nationally soliciting charities that have been accredited by BBB WGA (i.e., meet all&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">20 BBB Charity Standards</a>), and indicate that they are collecting contributions to assist Ecuador relief efforts. The list, which will be updated as more charities join the efforts, is available at <a href="/link/7be1346545af462ebdc0c43793144781.aspx">bbb.org/ecuador</a></p> <p>BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers donors these tips for disaster relief giving:</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Be cautious when giving online</span>.</strong> Be cautious about spam messages and emails that claim to link to a relief organization. If you want to give to a charity involved in relief efforts, go directly to the charity’s website.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Rely on expert opinion when it comes to evaluating a charity</span>. </strong>Be cautious when relying on third-party recommendations such as bloggers or other websites, as they may not have fully researched the relief organizations they list. The public can go to <a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">www.give.org</a> to research relief organizations and other charities to verify that they are accredited by the BBB which means they meet the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Be wary of claims that 100 percent of donations will assist relief victims</span>.</strong> Despite what an organization might claim, charities have fund raising and administrative costs. Even a credit card donation will involve, at a minimum, a processing fee. If a charity claims 100 percent of collected funds will be assisting earthquake victims, the truth is that the organization is still probably incurring fund raising and administrative expenses. It may use some of its other funds to pay these costs, but the expenses will still be incurred.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Find out if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the impacted areas</span>. </strong>Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to bring in new aid workers to provide assistance quickly. See if the charity’s website clearly describes what the charity can do to address immediate needs.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups</span>.</strong> Some charities may be raising money to pass along to relief organizations. If so, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and giving directly to those that have a presence in the region. Or, at a minimum, check out the ultimate recipients of these donations to see whether they are equipped to provide aid effectively.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations</span>.</strong> In-kind drives for food and clothing, while well intentioned, may not necessarily be the quickest way to help those in need – unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid properly. Ask the charity about its transportation and distribution plans. Be wary of those who are not experienced in disaster relief assistance.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>ABOUT BBB WGA:&nbsp;</strong>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, results 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 <a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">Give.org</a>.</p> <p><strong>ABOUT BBB: </strong>For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2014, people turned to BBB more than 165 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.4 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at <a href="/link/5c6878613f374fde9f6464d3e8edc230.aspx">bbb.org</a>.&nbsp;</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/04/ecuador-earthquake-donation-tips/; 4/18/2016 3:14:12 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Youth Philanthropy <p>Growing up in the South Philadelphia area, one of my earliest experiences with a chartable organization was with the local YMCA as explained in a previous <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/h-art-taylor/giving-back-giving-wisely_b_6227996.html">Huffington Post</a> piece that I wrote two years ago about “Giving Back.”&nbsp; The lessons learned from that experience shaped my initial understanding of philanthropy and its important role in society in providing help and hope to those in need. Most everyone has their own introduction to charity at an early age ranging from class projects to support an identified organization, the “<a href="https://www.unicefusa.org/trick-or-treat">Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF</a>” campaign during Halloween, donating used clothing to neighborhood organizations or helping a house of worship raise funds to assist a family in trouble due to a fire or other tragedy.&nbsp;</p> <p>While the desire to help others resides within everyone, the changing culture and technology can influence how younger generations learn to express such feelings. The interest in reaching out is still there but there are so many more options today for those seeking to assist. We can encourage acquaintances to support a favored group via our <i>Faceboo</i>k connections, visit a <a href="http://give.org/globalassets/wga/wise-giving-guides/summer-2013-guide-article.pdf">crowdfunding</a> site to donate to an individual’s requested needs or challenge friends to pour a <a href="http://www.alsa.org/fight-als/ice-bucket-challenge.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/">bucket of ice</a> on our heads and support the ALS Association. The variations of youth philanthropy today are as varied as websites on the Internet.&nbsp;</p> <p>This growing diversity of youth philanthropy also provides an opportunity – a chance to spread the word about the significance of verifying the trustworthiness of supported groups to help ensure that the good results we seek are carried out with responsibility and good stewardship. Youth today are already exposed to a variety of advisories about the importance of good nutrition, health and education. Responsible philanthropy is not that much of a leap from those other encouragements. &nbsp;We hope that young contributors also take the time to use the resources on <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> to learn about good <a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">charity practices</a> and whether their selected charity is meeting them.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>As part of our Building trust video series, we are pleased to provide our short interview with Kevin Washington, President and CEO of <a href="http://www.ymca.net/">YMCA of the USA</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1WryWaT">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) who speaks about programs that influence and shape young people. &nbsp;YMCA of the USA serves as the national resource for the Y to strengthen its member associations ability to effectively carry out the YMCA mission in their communities.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vJgg1fU2Oxw" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1oXqRgt">CRISTA Ministries</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1VUOxik">Forward Edge International</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/23udB5X">TechnoServe</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/04/wise-giving-wednesday-youth-philanthropy/; 4/13/2016 9:45:21 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: A Look at the Future of Charity Accountability <p>In an earlier blog, I talked about our <a href="http://give.org/news-updates/news/2016/03/wise-giving-wednesday-15-years-of-bbb-wise-giving-alliance/">15th anniversary</a> operating under the “BBB Wise Giving Alliance” name. Looking to our work in the coming years, I thought it would be helpful to offer foresight on the theme of charity accountability. Of course, this is a topic that will involve more than one posting. One good place to start is identifying what issues in the past are likely to continue in the years to come. &nbsp;Here are some thoughts.&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Bad Actors Won’t Disappear</strong></span>. &nbsp;The recent <a href="http://give.org/news-updates/news/2016/03/bbb-wga-urges-vigilance-following-ftc-settlement-with-cancer-charities/">settlement</a> with the FTC, all 50 states and the District of Columbia that involved dissolving two cancer charities accused of fraudulent behavior, reminds us that bad actors are a continuing challenge to charities that seek to strengthen the public’s trust. Questionable organizations will continue to plague the community in decades to come as they have in decades past.&nbsp; We all need to be on guard, especially since government resources are limited in terms of addressing such cases.&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Transparency Will Grow in Importance</strong></span>. &nbsp;In the past few decades, we have seen a continuing growth in the availability of charity information as the IRS Form 990 has become more accessible and charity websites provide details about their activities.&nbsp; We believe this trend will continue and charities will be prompted to be even more transparent about their activities, goals, results, impact and achievements. The notion of a charity choosing not to disclose information, will become more unacceptable.&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Information Manipulation</strong></span>. As charity financial information has become more accessible, we have also seen a growing challenge in identifying the accuracy and consistency of shared data. For example, we have seen differences in how charity financial information is summarized. Some follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) in summarizing financial data, others don’t. &nbsp;It is likely that such data accuracy differences will extend to other areas as well and may confuse users seeking to make informed giving decisions.&nbsp;</p> <p>The lesson learned in the above is that there will be a continuing need for people to rely on third parties that can filter information, such as the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, in seeking to verify charity trustworthiness.&nbsp; We look forward to continuing to assist both donors and charities in addressing this important objective.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, the video below includes my comments on our 15<sup>th</sup> anniversary:</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/JppNE9f_KEA" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include: &nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1VwHXi3">International Aid</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1Uku5Zy">National Foundation for Transplants</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1RXOvnn">Thurgood Marshall College Fund</a></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to <a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a> if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity that has not been evaluated by us and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/04/wise-giving-wednesday-a-look-at-the-future-of-charity-accountability/; 4/6/2016 2:44:27 PM BBB WGA Urges Vigilance Following Government Settlement with Cancer Charities <p>Arlington, VA, March 30, 2016 --&nbsp;Following a <a href="https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/cases/160330cfaorder_reynolds.pdf">settlement today with the FTC, all 50 states, and the District of Columbia</a> that <a href="https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2016/03/ftc-states-settle-claims-against-two-entities-claiming-be-cancer">dissolves two fraudulent cancer charities,</a> the Cancer Fund of America and Cancer Support Services, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB WGA) urges donors to remain vigilant in researching charities before donating to avoid charitable scams. The Cancer Fund of America and Cancer Support Services will be forced to dissolve and its leaders will be banned from working for nonprofits moving forward, as part of today’s settlement.<br /><br />“The Cancer Fund of America and Cancer Support Services swindled donors and broke the trust of the public,” said H. Art Taylor, president and CEO of the BBB WGA. “While we’re pleased to see these organizations shutter their doors, unfortunately this isn’t a unique case and it should serve as a strong reminder to donors to stay vigilant when donating. BBB WGA is committed to helping donors avoid questionable charities by providing easy to use reports for quick reference before giving. Both the Cancer Fund of America and Cancer Support Services did not disclose information to BBB WGA, which could have been an early red flag. Charities that do not disclose information to BBB WGA are simply not invested in helping donors make wise giving decisions.”<br /><br />Following the closing of the Cancer Fund of America and Cancer Support Services, BBB WGA provided three key tips to avoid future deception:<br /><br />Research before giving. Use the easy-to-read reports at Give.org to verify the trustworthiness of a charity. Find out whether the charity meets the&nbsp;<a href="/link/bf08473b31114ffdb14b01e3dd6bc76f.aspx">20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.</a><br /><br />Evaluate what information you’re asked to give. If the information you are being asked to share seems odd, it probably is. Don’t feel pressed to give information or an immediate donation. A credible organization will not pressure you.<br /><br />Find the best way to give. Charities often value the donation of time in addition to monetary donations to keep providing their services.<br /><br />In 2015, BBB WGA joined the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), State Attorneys General, and State Charity Regulators to help donors avoid questionable fundraising. The FTC and State Attorneys General announced a major action against three national charities, Cancer Fund of America, Children’s Cancer Fund of America, and Breast Cancer Society due to severe transgressions in the organizations’ fundraising, financial reporting, and board oversight.<br /><br />About BBB Wise Giving Alliance:<br /><br />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.</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/03/bbb-wga-urges-vigilance-following-ftc-settlement-with-cancer-charities/; 3/31/2016 9:54:21 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Helping Brussels Victims & Crowdfunding Requests <p>The horrible terrorist attack that occurred in Brussels on March 22<sup>nd</sup> has stirred our hearts and has motivated some donors to do what they can to help the victims.&nbsp; After a tragedy or disaster, crowdfunding sites are usually one of the first to post requests to assist victims and their families.&nbsp; However, we caution potential contributors to keep the following cautions in mind.</p> <ol> <li>Watch out for those seeking to take advantage of high public sympathy immediately after a tragedy.&nbsp; A crowdfunding request may have no official connection to the victims, their families and/or may be using photos of victims without the families’ permission.</li> <li>Don’t assume that the crowdfunding site has vetted any postings for assistance.&nbsp; Each site has its own process for posting requests and some may not require anything more than a Facebook page and PayPal account.</li> <li>If the crowdfunding request is claiming to be raising funds to pass along to an established charity engaged in victim relief, consider giving to the charity directly as crowdfunding sites can charge fundraisers anywhere from 4% to 20% of the total amount donated.&nbsp; Also, check out established charities on <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> to verify if they meet the 20 <i><a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></i>.</li> <li>When tragedy strikes overseas, foreign-based charities will likely be engaged in providing help to victims.&nbsp; Keep in mind it will be more difficult to check out such organizations. However, the charity’s website should provide some level of transparency on their operations, finances and governing board oversight.&nbsp; If interested in supporting such groups, find out if they have an American based affiliate that is eligible to receive donations on their behalf.</li> <li>If the crowdfunding collection is raising funds to help specific named victim(s)or their families, contributions may not be deductible as charitable gifts for federal income tax purposes.&nbsp; (See <a href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p526.pdf">IRS Publication 526</a>.) &nbsp;Also, contributions to foreign-based charities are generally not deductible as well.</li> </ol> <p>As always, donors will have many opportunities to help. Don’t assume that the needs of victims disappear when the headlines do.</p> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to <a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a> if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity that has not been evaluated by us and we will do our best to produce one.</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/03/wise-giving-wednesday-helping-brussels-victims-crowdfunding-requests/; 3/30/2016 10:02:13 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: 15 Years of BBB Wise Giving Alliance <p>Today, March 23<sup>rd</sup>, is the 15<sup>th</sup> anniversary of operating under the name “BBB Wise Giving Alliance.”&nbsp; We are proud of our legacy, devoted to our mission of helping donors identify trustworthy charities, and look forward to expanding our reach in the charitable sector in years to come. &nbsp;As we celebrate our anniversary, I am reminded about how the past 15 years have been a function of our collaboration, communication and credibility.&nbsp;</p> <p>When the BBB Wise Giving Alliance formed in 2001 it represented one of the highest forms of collaboration – a merger of the two largest charity monitoring organizations that existed at that time: the National Charities Information Bureau (NCIB) which began in 1918 as the first organization in the nation to establish charity accountability standards and the Philanthropic Advisory Service (PAS) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus which had been reporting on national charities under various different names since the 1920s.&nbsp; Both organizations had a shared mission of helping donors make wise giving decisions and both completed reports on nationally soliciting charities using a broad set of standards that addressed governance, finances, and transparency issues. &nbsp;The combined charity reporting legacy of the merger partners represents more than a century of experience and helped provide a solid foundation on which to grow.&nbsp; But our collaborative efforts continued as we helped develop the reporting framework known as <a href="http://give.org/globalassets/wga/wise-giving-guides/summer-2011-guide-article.pdf">Charting Impact</a> (2011) with both Independent Sector and GuideStar and helped spread the <a href="http://overheadmyth.com/">Overhead Myth</a> campaign (2013) with GuideStar and Charity Navigator.&nbsp;</p> <p>Communication has also been a key element of our success these past 15 years as we have sought to expand our outreach to help educate more donors about giving wisely whether it be in the rush to provide relief assistance in the wake of a disaster or in the promotion of <a href="http://give.org/news-updates/news/2015/11/wise-giving-wednesday-giving-wisely-on-givingtuesday/">Giving Tuesday</a>, the designated day for giving initiated in part through the work of the 92<sup>nd</sup> Street Y in New York City.&nbsp; The redesign and launch of the new <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> website also helped spread our communication efforts to two audiences – the donating public and charitable organizations. Added features to the Give.org website included the <i>Wise Giving Wednesday</i> weekly blog and the <i>Building Trust</i> video series of interviews with CEOs and executives at BBB Accredited Charities. As a result of all these activities and more, we were able to generate over 852 million media impressions in 2015 – a cumulative total that far exceeds our efforts in previous years.&nbsp;</p> <p>Finally, our credibility is not only built on our legacy of experience but on the rigorous and careful approach we use in completing our evaluation of charities in relation to the 20 <i><a href="http://give.org/for-charities/How-We-Accredit-Charities/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></i>.&nbsp; This holistic approach to accountability has served donors well but is also a reflection of the open process in which these standards were developed – a three year project that involved extensive research on donor expectations and significant input form charities, foundations, regulators, accountants, fundraisers and other experts in philanthropy. An advisory committee representing these diverse interests prepared a set of draft standards that were distributed widely at conferences and placed on our website for public comment for over a year.&nbsp;</p> <p>We welcome the opportunity to serve both donors and charities as we continue to expand our efforts to strengthen donor confidence and help charities maintain accountable practices.&nbsp;</p> <p>The video below features my comments on this 15<sup>th</sup> anniversary:&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/JppNE9f_KEA" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1UksFht">Alzheimer's Association</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1Uku5Zy">National Foundation for Transplants</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1UMzAyz">Outreach International</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to <a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a> if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/03/wise-giving-wednesday-15-years-of-bbb-wise-giving-alliance/; 3/23/2016 10:18:46 AM BBB WGA Represented on Top 25 Most Influential Experts List <p>This week the annual list of America’s Most Influential Philanthropy Experts was released and for the first time includes Art Taylor of BBB Wise Giving Alliance, highlighting his work in empowering and educating donors and raising the issue of trust in the charitable sector.&nbsp;</p> <p>The list of 25 experts also includes Paul Polizzotto of Ecomedia CBS, Chris Anderson of TED and Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen of Giving 2.0.&nbsp;</p> <p>Each of the leaders has a strong record in the last year of raising the bar in the nonprofit industry—from increasing charity transparency to new models of public-private partnerships to removing traditional barriers to giving.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>“While there are still some movers and shakers from past years, there are quite a few new experts on the list,” <em>Michael Chatman, host of The Michael Chatman Giving Show said.</em> “The competition for being one of the most influential experts in philanthropy is fierce!”&nbsp;</p> <p>“It is a privilege to be honored with this group of leaders in our sector,” H. Art Taylor, president and CEO of BBB Wise Giving Alliance (WGA) said. “It reflects the commitment of our teammates in the BBB system to enable trustworthy charities to produce sustainable change and help donors have a clear understanding of how to support their work.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Taylor’s mission of increasing charitable trust and transparency comes to life at <a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">Give.org</a> where BBB WGA provides free resources to help donors make wise giving decisions. The BBB WGA monitors charities so donors don’t have to, allowing donors to give with peace of mind. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Find the complete <a href="http://myemail.constantcontact.com/2016-Top-25-Most-Influential-Philanthropy-Experts.html?soid=1101254149557&amp;aid=NTZO6JLaIPw">Top 25 Most Influential Philanthropy &amp; Social Innovation Experts</a> <a href="http://myemail.constantcontact.com/2016-Top-25-Most-Influential-Philanthropy-Experts.html?soid=1101254149557&amp;aid=NTZO6JLaIPw">here</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>The list was are computed using a complex formula including rigorous research, data analysis, and public voting run by&nbsp;Philanthropy Media and The Michael Chatman Giving Show.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>ABOUT BBB WISE GIVING ALLIANCE (WGA): </strong></p> <p>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, results 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.</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/03/bbb-wga-represented-on-top-25-most-influential-experts-list/; 3/18/2016 1:14:55 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Wounded Warrior Project <p>Each year, some of the nationally soliciting charities on which we report, face public allegations. These can range anywhere from questions about the accuracy of financial references in their communications to concerns about how the charity carries out its work.&nbsp; Although these allegations rarely rise to the level of warranting government agency investigations, the public often assumes wrongdoing has taken place unless shown otherwise. &nbsp;The court of public opinion can be quick to judge without knowing all the relevant facts.&nbsp;</p> <p>In view of the volume of public inquiries we are receiving about Wounded Warrior Project and the continuing media spotlight placed on this organization, we thought this would be a good opportunity to share with donors how we address these types of concerns.&nbsp;</p> <p>Once a media story that raises concerns is published about a charity, we correspond directly with the charity to get additional insight in order to make our own determination. This is done by having the charity answer a series of questions and provide other documentation relevant to the &nbsp;allegations that affect the issues addressed in the 20 <i><a href="http://give.org/for-charities/How-We-Accredit-Charities/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></i>. This enables our conclusions to remain objective and helpful for our report users. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>After the stories appeared about Wounded Warrior Project, we initiated that work.&nbsp; No changes were made to our report on WWP at that time other than a notice that we were contacting the charity for additional information about the recent public allegations that had been made so that we could determine whether the charity continued to meet the BBB Charity Standards.&nbsp;</p> <p>Last Wednesday, WWP sent us a detailed response to our questions which we are currently reviewing. &nbsp;On Thursday, we learned that WWP’s board of directors received a report on an examination conducted by an outside forensic accounting service and a law firm, and that WWP’s CEO and COO had left the organization. Naturally, this new information, based on actions taken directly by the charity’s board, required us to entirely reopen our evaluation of WWP and suspend the organization’s use of the Charity Seal.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Again, we are making no assumptions based on the public allegations and will continue to correspond with WWP to reach our own conclusions.&nbsp; Our goal is to make a fair and correct analysis based on facts rather than a quick judgment based on third party sources.&nbsp; Although this takes more time, we are confident that this procedure will help both donors and charities in verifying and addressing accountability issues.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide the following video that features Chuck Scofield, Chief Development Officer of&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nokidhungry.org/">Share Our Strength</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1LXGAX6">BBB Accredited Charity</a>). &nbsp;Among other things, Share Our Strength carries out a No Kid Hungry campaign that seeks to engage the public to make ending child hunger a national priority.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8wDkbV8B5HE" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1po9mq5">Help Me See</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1RkUaH2">MADRE</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1po9F44">Parkinson's Disease Foundation</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to <a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a> if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/03/wise-giving-wednesday-wounded-warrior-project/; 3/16/2016 1:29:43 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Online Giving 7.1% of 2015 Total <p>With all the attention given to charities’ use of technology, the internet and social media, you would think that the online environment is the dominant fundraising engine that fuels philanthropy. While the signs are pointing in that direction, online giving still has a long, long way to go. Last month, Blackbaud, a company that offers nonprofit software and services, released its <a href="https://www.blackbaud.com/nonprofit-resources/charitable-giving-report-2015-confirmation">Charitable Giving Report for 2015</a>. Based on data it obtained from about 4,000 organizations, it estimates that “<span style="text-decoration: underline;">about 7.1% of overall fundraising revenue, excluding grants, was raised online</span>.” While it may be hard to believe, despite the fact there is continuing growth in online fundraising from year to year, it still is less than 10% of the charity fundraising pie.&nbsp;</p> <p>If one compares this 7.1% online giving statistic to what is taking place in the for-profit retail word, it surprisingly tracks fairly closely.&nbsp; The U.S. Department of Commerce puts out <a href="https://www.census.gov/retail/mrts/www/data/pdf/ec_current.pdf">quarterly retail E-commerce sales</a> figures and the latest numbers show that during 2015 E-commerce as a percentage of total retail sales ranged from 7.0% to 7.5 percent of total retail sales.&nbsp;</p> <p>Keep in mind that the 7.1% online giving figure reflects a total percentage. For certain types of charities, such as international and domestic relief organizations, online giving has been more successful, particularly following disasters that make the headlines. In turn, the same diversity of online experience occurs in the for-profit retail space, where certain types of sales have had a larger portion of E-commerce activity.&nbsp;</p> <p>For now, direct mail, fundraising events and other development methods still dominate. While donors should not expect that to change overnight, the online giving train continues to pick up speed and will likely continue to grow as younger generations of givers are more likely to make their transactions online. At the same time, charities might help encourage more growth if more charity websites were optimized for mobile devices to make it easier for donors to contribute using their phones.&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course, no matter how one chooses to contribute, we remind our readers to check out charities before a gift is made to ensure that the organization meets the 20 <i><a href="http://give.org/for-charities/How-We-Accredit-Charities/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></i>. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b></p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, in recognition of Women’s History Month, continuing our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Jennifer Windsor, CEO of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.womenforwomen.org/">Women for Women International</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1p8h9Io">BBB Accredited Charity</a>).&nbsp; This organization was founded twenty years ago to help the most marginalized of women in conflict affected countries to rebuild their lives.&nbsp; The heart of their program is a 12-month training program that helps provide basic skills such as economic, literacy and knowledge of health and basic rights.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2jGr6QB1fKo" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1XczZcA">HIAS</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1QGRocP">I Am Waters Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1XczMWA">Pacific Crest Trail Association</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to <a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a> if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/03/wise-giving-wednesday-online-giving-7.1-of-2015-total/; 3/9/2016 1:14:32 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Charity Trustworthiness <p>I often point out that the BBB Wise Giving Alliance is a standards-based charity evaluator that seeks to verify the <em>trustworthiness </em>of charities by completing rigorous evaluations based on 20 holistic standards. How do we define trust?&nbsp; These are the areas addressed by the <a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a> such as charity governance, effectiveness reporting, finances, fundraising, and appeal accuracy.</p> <p>The concept of trust points to <strong>expected future behaviors</strong> based on past experience. In turn, the evaluations competed by BBB WGA are looking back at what the charity has done in the previous year in terms of the various issues addressed by our standards.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Reliability </strong>is another component of trust that provides <strong>confidence </strong>that the charity will do what it says. There is an <strong>honesty </strong>component of this behavior verification that, in part, is addressed by the BBB Charity Standards that addresses appeal accuracy. Reliability is also enhanced by proper <strong>oversight </strong>such as the stewardship exercised by an active and engaged governing board that is focused on the best interests of the charity.&nbsp;</p> <p>In a way, trust provides the platform that helps fuel contributions and provides the charity with an opportunity to forge relationships with donors that extend beyond just financial support.</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Barbara Newhouse, President and CEO, <a href="http://www.alsa.org/">ALS Association</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/21D3T0e">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which seeks to address amyotrophic lateral sclerosis through global research, providing assistance for people with ALS through a nationwide network of chapters, coordinating multidisciplinary care through certified clinical care centers, and fostering government partnerships.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/maQDysz3ees" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1RnXoU7">Limbs for Life Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1QrQMHX">Support for Educational and Economic Development</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1RnXmM8">VH1 Save the Music Foundation</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to <a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a> if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/03/wise-giving-wednesday-charity-trustworthiness/; 3/2/2016 10:32:53 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Charity Phone Appeals <p>Like any other form of fundraising, telephone appeals can help a charity or become a significant failure if not managed well.&nbsp; In general the most successful phone appeals take place when an organization calls previous donors to encourage them to increase their support or contacts individuals with a special connection such as calling alumni of a university to request a gift. In contrast, an organization can risk the potential of high fundraising costs and annoyed call recipients if it engages in conducting a large volume of cold calls – contacting people who have never donated and are not familiar with the organization.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>To help donors handle phone appeals, I thought it would be helpful to share some of basic tips:&nbsp;</p> <ol> <li>Ask the caller how much of your gift will get to the charity, especially if the caller states they are a professional solicitor.</li> <li>Remember, some charity names may sound similar. Be sure you are not confusing the charity with another group.</li> <li>If you are interested, ask the caller for the charity’s website address or request written information on their programs and finances to be sent to you.</li> <li>Don’t succumb to pressure to make an immediate donation if you want more time to make a more thoughtful decision.</li> </ol> <p>And, of course, check out the charity by visiting Give.org to verify if the charity meets the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Stacy Haller, President and CEO, <a href="http://www.brightfocus.org/">BrightFocus Foundation</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1OuWOC1">BBB Accredited Charity</a>).&nbsp; BrightFocus is an organization that seeks to advance research and public information in three areas: Alzheimer’s disease, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/oIAatynsMH8" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1SUnLGY">Alpha-1 Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1Tz9NZY">HHT Foundation International</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1T77TkR">International Rescue Committee</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to <a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a> if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/02/wise-giving-wednesday-charity-phone-appeals/; 2/24/2016 12:17:53 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Celebrities & Charities <p>The Golden Globes. The Grammys.&nbsp; The Oscars.&nbsp; As January and February are the heart of awards season for movie stars and recording artists, we are reminded that many celebrities also use this time to help bring attention to their favorite causes and charities.&nbsp; All of us have the potential of being star-struck and drawn to organizations supported by those we admire. So, we thought we would share some advice to help donors make informed decisions when celebrities encourage contributions:&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-left: 30px;">1. Don’t rely on a celebrity as the sole indicator of a charity’s reliability. Famed personalities know how to please audiences but not necessarily how to vet charities.<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin-left: 30px;">2. Be wary of newly established charities that as yet offer little beyond a celebrity connection.<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin-left: 30px;">3. Length and depth of service to a charity are useful indicators of a celebrities altruistic credibility, but in giving decisions, it’s the charity that must gain your confidence. &nbsp;&nbsp;<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin-left: 30px;">4. A celebrity’s spokesperson’s missteps or misbehavior need not tarnish the name of the sponsoring charity. Weigh the whole situation and how it’s handled.</p> <p style="margin-left: 30px;">5. Of course, don’t forget to check if the charity meets the <a href="/link/59a9c0fd30004efd85b7094074c85374.aspx">20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a>.</p> <p>For additional advice on this subject, see our past <a href="/link/d6a7d429841a435faf73f6dbaee616b0.aspx">Wise Giving Guide cover story </a>on this topic.&nbsp;</p> <p>BBB Wise Giving Alliance believes that the more information that is available to donors, the better informed they are in making their contribution decisions.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Besa Pinchotti, Communications Director of the <a href="http://www.militaryfamily.org">National Military Family Association</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1R8FfMk">BBB Accredited Charity</a>).&nbsp; The NMFA is an organization that works to strengthen and protect Uniformed Services families through its advocacy activities and programs that include spouse scholarships, camps for military kids, and retreats for families reconnecting after deployment and the families of the wounded, ill and injured.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1LwI6P_JZbo" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1U8eSsS">Meds and Food for Kids</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1SyRLbn">Prevent Child Abuse America</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1Q1HT7J">VFW Foundation</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to <a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a> if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/02/wise-giving-wednesday-celebrities-charities/; 2/17/2016 3:05:51 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: The GAAP in Charity Financial Figures <p>As a former independent auditor, it’s hard for me to imagine a world in which there are no standards for charity financial statements. In such a world, organizations could produce financial statements without regard to how other groups report their financial transactions. &nbsp;The public would never know the basis of charity financial statistics in financial summaries or media references.&nbsp; Comparisons between organizations would be a guessing game, at best.&nbsp; Of course, such financial anarchy makes no sense and defeats the objectives of reliability, relevance, comparability and understandability that help make up some of the core objectives of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).&nbsp; &nbsp;Yet in the real world there are many instances where financial presentations do not comport with GAAP. It’s not always clear to readers, however, when this occurs so here are three tips to help guide your use of charity financial information.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>1. Recognize the Reliability of Audited Financial Statements: &nbsp;</strong>As a standards-based charity evaluator, BBB Wise Giving Alliance is especially sympathetic to the importance of standards and guidelines in providing a useful reference point and helping to encourage good practices.&nbsp; This is one of the reasons that the financial section of <a href="http://give.org/for-charities/How-We-Accredit-Charities/">BBB Charity Standards</a> prefer to use a charity’s audited financial statements as opposed to the IRS Form 990.&nbsp; Audited financial statements are prepared in accordance with GAAP which are the accounting standards established in the United States by the <a href="http://www.fasb.org/jsp/FASB/Page/SectionPage&amp;cid=1176154526495">Financial Accounting Standards Board</a>. In turn, the auditor’s opinion attached to audited financial statements will identify any material aberration from GAAP so that users are aware of this difference when reviewing the financial statement contents.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>2. Identify the Source of Financial Information: </strong>&nbsp;The IRS Form 990, the annual financial form that charities file with the IRS, is not intended to provide a financial presentation that is consistent with GAAP. As a result, in some instances, there can be significant differences between the IRS Form 990 and a charity’s audited financial statement. When you see a charity financial reference in media, on a website, or in a fundraising letter, look closely to see if the source is clearly identified so that you know whether or not the summary is based on GAAP financial information.</p> <p><strong>3.&nbsp;Watch Out for Non-GAAP Financial Statistics:</strong><b> &nbsp;</b>Even if a charity’s audited financial statements are the source of financial summaries or ratios referenced on websites or other sources, be mindful that sometimes these use numbers that have been re-calculated. They may omit, reclassify or add figures that alter the summary from a GAAP presentation. Unfortunately, these financial stats are not always clearly labeled to inform users of these changes. For example, referenced charity financial ratios may omit in-kind gifts or reject certain GAAP practices (e.g. see Wise Giving Guide story on <a href="http://give.org/globalassets/wga/wise-giving-guides/spring-2013-guide-article.pdf">joint-cost allocation</a>).&nbsp; Please note that the financial section of reports produced by BBB WGA will specify if BBB WGA has questioned the charity’s audited financial statements if BBB WGA believes that GAAP has not been followed.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Mark Bergel, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director&nbsp;of <a href="http://awidercircle.org/">A Wider Circle</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1XiUswS">BBB Accredited Charity</a>).&nbsp; A Wider Circle is an organization that works to end poverty for individuals and families by collecting and distributing donated goods, providing professional attire, job preparedness courses, and a well-baby program.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bVVyKP_9pNM" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1XiUV29">Alley Cat Allies</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1Lhlrly">Braille Institute of America</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1Q9ax8P">Operation Smile</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to <a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a> if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/02/wise-giving-wednesday-the-gaap-in-charity-financial-figures/; 2/10/2016 1:08:16 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: GuideStar Nonprofit Profiles <p>Since 1994, <a href="http://www.guidestar.org/Home.aspx">GuideStar</a> has been most known for providing access to the annual federal financial forms filed by charities and other tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, the IRS Form 990. &nbsp;A few weeks ago, GuideStar announced a <a href="http://trust.guidestar.org/2016/01/20/introducing-the-new-guidestar-nonprofit-profile?utm_campaign=Nonprofit%20Profile%20Launch&amp;utm_medium=link&amp;utm_source=alert">new format</a> for their organization profiles.&nbsp; We thought we would alert readers to some features that can be of particular interest to charity donors.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Free Access to IRS Form 990s</strong>: Those who are familiar with GuideStar can be assured that the IRS Form 990 continues to be accessible at no charge. In fact, three years worth of 990’s can be accessed – just look at the right side of an organization’s profile and click on the green button marked “Forms 990.”&nbsp; (For first-time visitors to the site, please note that GuideStar requires registration to access a certain portion of information on its site but that registration is free.) &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Charting Impact</strong><b>: </b>Back in 2010, BBB WGA engaged in a collaboration with both <a href="https://www.independentsector.org/charting_impact">Independent Sector</a> and GuideStar to produce <a href="http://give.org/globalassets/wga/wise-giving-guides/summer-2011-guide-article.pdf">Charting Impact</a>, a reporting framework that consists of five (5) questions that charities can answer to help produce a report on their goals, strategies, capabilities, progress and accomplishments. Completing this reporting framework is also a means to help charities meet <a href="http://give.org/for-charities/How-We-Accredit-Charities/">BBB Charity Standard 7</a>. &nbsp;We are pleased to note that GuideStar’s new organizational profiles place a significant spotlight on Charting Impact by placing this information at the beginning of the profile. This also helps donors avoid potential donor over-emphasis on charity financial information. Charities seeking to complete Charting Impact can access the following GuideStar <a href="http://learn.guidestar.org/update-nonprofit-report/charting-impact?source=/chartingimpact">link</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>In addition to the above, GuideStar profiles provide information on operations, interactive graphs that show finances over a period of time, and board leadership and diversity information.&nbsp;</p> <p>BBB Wise Giving Alliance believes that the more information that is available to donors, the better informed they are in making their contribution decisions.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Shawn Sweeney, Sr., Director of Community Engagement of the <a href="http://www.janegoodall.org/">Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife, Research, Education and Conservation</a> (a <a href="/link/6de9897c2d424957b59b576f71b6ee8d.aspx?epsremainingpath=national/environment/jane-goodall-institute-for-wildlife-research-education-and-conservation-in-vienna-va-1502">BBB Accredited Charity</a>).&nbsp; The Jane Goodall Institute works to promote understanding and protection of great apes and their habitat on the legacy of Dr. Jane Goodall, its founder, and to inspire individual action by young people to help animals and to protect the environment.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NcG2fHqzAhk" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1ENWwaV">Episcopal Relief and Development</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1QcuBBp">Feeding America</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1X3k0xP">National Audubon Society</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to <a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a> if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/02/wise-giving-wednesday-guidestar-nonprofit-profiles/; 2/3/2016 10:34:12 AM BBB Warns Charities of Fake Check Scam <p>Arlington, VA – February 1, 2016 – BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB WGA) is warning charities nationwide to be on the alert for a <strong>fake-check overpayment scam</strong>.&nbsp; An individual using the name “Kenneth McFarlane” initially sends charities emails expressing interest, then sends a 5-figure donation, via overnight mail, using a fake check. Next, he immediately informs the charity a mistake has been made and asks them to return $10,000 to cover a medical emergency for a child.&nbsp; If the charity follows through, they lose the $10,000 before knowing the original check was fake.&nbsp; For more information, see the following release produced by the Better Business Bureau Serving Central Virginia, based in Richmond, which brought this to the attention of BBB WGA. &nbsp;<a href="/link/41f307a87ceb456da6e40c271526c39e.aspx" target="_blank">http://www.bbb.org/richmond/news-events/news-releases/20162/01/bogus-donation-scam-targeting-local-nonprofits/</a></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>ABOUT BBB WISE GIVING ALLIANCE:<br /></strong>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, results 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 <a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">Give.org</a>.</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/02/bbb-warns-charities-of-fake-check-scam/; 2/1/2016 3:10:05 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Charities and Data Privacy Day <p>January 28, 2016 is <a href="http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/standardsetting/DataProtection/default_en.asp">Data Privacy Day</a> which commemorates the signing of <a href="https://secure.edps.europa.eu/EDPSWEB/edps/EDPS/Dataprotection/QA/QA2">Convention 108</a>, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection. Although this day has been recognized in the U.S. and Canada since 2008 and in Mexico since 2015, most donors probably don’t associate this data issue with charities. Contributors might be thinking of online retail credit card security, medical office records, or banking information. The reality is that data privacy is relevant to all websites, including those of charitable organizations. Charity websites can collect data not only through online donation collections but also through online message exchanges with visitors, electronic newsletter distributions, and online sales of books or other items.&nbsp;</p> <p>In fact, respecting online privacy and safeguarding data are key elements in helping to verify charity trustworthiness. That’s why they are addressed in Standard 18(b) which calls for all charity websites to have a privacy policy that addresses the four fundamental privacy concepts of notice, access, choice and security. &nbsp;To learn more about this standard and how it is applied view the text and explanations of the <i><a href="http://give.org/for-charities/How-We-Accredit-Charities/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></i> and see one of our previous <a href="http://give.org/news-updates/news/2015/04/wise-giving-wednesday-building-trust-part-8/">Wise Giving Wednesday previous blogs</a> that talks about this standard.&nbsp;</p> <p>I also want to call your attention to a recording of a panel discussion, “<a href="http://livestream.com/accounts/1447393/BBB-CPNL">Cybersecurity Planning for Nonprofit Leaders</a>” presented by the BBB Foundation of Metropolitan New York.&nbsp; There is no cost to access the video, which includes, among others, experts from IBM Corporation, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and New Jersey.&nbsp;</p> <p>Finally, BBB has a <a href="/link/5455852c97bd4e6181627f8d25310572.aspx">special website</a> that, although focused on business cybersecurity, includes helpful suggestions that charities can adopt as well – a 5-step approach to cybersecurity that calls for such things as taking inventory of key technologies being used, assessing what protective measures you need and can afford and placing measures in place to alert you to current and imminent threats.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Johannah Barry, President of the <a href="http://www.galapagos.org/">Galapagos Conservancy</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1E5IGk8">BBB Accredited Charity</a>).&nbsp; The Conservancy is a United States based organization that works to conserve marine and terrestrial ecosystems and their flora and fauna in the Galapagos Islands.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/i589PEJk63s" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://give.org">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1QCZVhg">Gesher Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1SK2CPl">Give2Asia</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/23tg8e0">Global Fund for Women</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to <a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a> if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/01/wise-giving-wednesday-charities-and-data-privacy-day/; 1/27/2016 10:23:10 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: BBB Charity Standards & The Charity Impact Issue <p>As charity impact continues to be a subject of significant interest, I thought it would be helpful to clarify our position on this. First, the subject of charity impact (also called results reporting) has been discussed for decades.&nbsp; Fifteen years ago we commissioned a survey of over 2,000 adult Americans and found significant public interest in wanting to know about a charity’s success in achieving its purpose or mission. A more recent survey from <i><a href="https://philanthropy.com/interactives/confidence">The Chronicle of Philanthropy</a></i> shows this interest continues today. When we last revised our <i>BBB Charity Standards</i> with the help of the charity community, we knew this issue needed to be addressed.&nbsp;</p> <p>Standards 6 and 7 in the <i><a href="http://give.org/for-charities/How-We-Accredit-Charities/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></i> call for charities to adopt a governing board policy to conduct a performance or effectiveness assessment at least every two years and to produce a written report on this assessment for the board that explains the charity’s success or impact in fulfilling its mission, goals and objectives.&nbsp; While we applaud charities that make such reports public, our board emphasis in these standards reflects our continuing concern that a public distribution can sometimes be more promotional in tone.&nbsp;</p> <p>These standards do not require charities to conduct expensive long-term or longitudinal studies, but can be achieved by much more modest means.&nbsp; As an example see the Charting Impact 5-question results-reporting format&nbsp; recommended in the <a href="http://give.org/globalassets/wga/wise-giving-guides/summer-2011-guide-article.pdf">2011 collaborative project</a> that BBB WGA had with Independent Sector and GuideStar.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>In the past decade, as we have applied Standards 6 and 7, we have found that most soliciting charities have been able to meet these recommendations. We think we have played a part in helping charities improve their practices but we also recognize that many others have brought thoughtful attention to this subject as well.&nbsp; I will be writing more on this topic in the future and welcome you to contact me with your perspective, however, if you want to read more on this subject, here are two of our past blogs on this issue:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://give.org/news-updates/news/2015/02/can-charity-watchdogs-assess-a-charitys-effectiveness-or-impact/">http://give.org/news-updates/news/2015/02/can-charity-watchdogs-assess-a-charitys-effectiveness-or-impact/</a></li> <li><a href="http://give.org/news-updates/news/2015/02/wise-giving-wednesday-building-trust-part-5/">http://give.org/news-updates/news/2015/02/wise-giving-wednesday-building-trust-part-5/</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Michelle DeLaune, Chief Operating Officer of the <a href="http://www.missingkids.com/home">National Center for Missing and Exploited Children</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1KgAOtI">BBB Accredited Charity</a>).&nbsp; This organization works closely with families of missing children to help rescue and recover them and also seeks to help prevent child sexual exploitation.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/JOQR7yo8yM4" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1V8tXIU">Children's Lifeline</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1PpFX4e">Foundation for Individual Rights in Education</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1UbCSsT">Guttmacher Institute</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to <a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a> if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/01/wise-giving-wednesday-bbb-charity-standards-the-charity-impact-issue/; 1/20/2016 10:08:12 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: New Charities & Accountability <p>As reported in <i><a href="https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2016/01/08/widespread-form-1023-ez-abuse-reported-by-irs/?utm_source=hs_email&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_content=25099597&amp;_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9OgGxswU1HUDc6TTy4JwJPT_fnciOQ5o6MMMwyLXLg7YFfdx1soT7jtkUYbOOMeHEKmQN8m1sQe9Wwxd6op1Qh7sN7og&amp;_hsmi=25099597">The NonProfit Times</a></i>, a shorter version of the IRS application form for charitable tax-exempt status (IRS Form 1023–EZ) was introduced in 2014 to help the IRS deal with a backlog of applications which had reached 66,000 in 2013. Some applicants were waiting many months or years for an IRS determination to be made on their status. &nbsp;In the 2015 <a href="http://www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/reports/2015-annual-report-to-congress">Annual Report</a> to the U.S. Congress, the National Taxpayer Advocate, which is a division of the IRS, <a href="http://www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/reports/2015-annual-report-to-congress/report-features/recognition-as-a-tax-exempt-organization">concluded</a>, in part, that “recognition as a tax-exempt organization is now virtually automatic for most applicants.”&nbsp; Among other things, this lack of alleged due diligence in reviewing these applications creates problems for both donors and charities that are later determined to be taxable.</p> <p>This report brings to mind one aspect of charity evaluations completed by BBB Wise Giving Alliance – we report on both new as well as established charities. As long as the charity has completed its first full fiscal year, almost all of the <i><a href="http://give.org/for-charities/How-We-Accredit-Charities/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a> </i>can be applied. BBB Charity Standards represent threshold accountability practices that charities can meet despite their age or size. This was one of the fundamental objectives that was considered when the charity standards were last revised in an open process with significant involvement from the charitable community and other philanthropic experts. The principles of adequate oversight by the governing board, financial transparency, accurate appeals, and a commitment to results reporting are relevant to all organizations and are addressed in these standards.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>As part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide the following video an interview with Thomas G. Bognanno, President &amp; CEO of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.healthmattersatwork.org/">Community Health Charities</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1IiV5Bn">BBB Accredited Charity</a>).&nbsp; This organization has one of the largest workplace giving programs in the U.S. and during the past five years has helped distribute more than $400 million to its nearly 2,000 member charities which focus on health issues. Also, workplace giving is the subject of the <a href="http://give.org/globalassets/wga/wise-giving-guides/holiday-2015-guide-article.pdf">cover story</a> in our latest Wise Giving Guide.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nw_p5PBbuXU" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include: &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1PXKnCC">First Nations Development Institute</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1RE0zwo">Friends of the Earth</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/200GzoJ">Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/01/wise-giving-wednesday-new-charities-accountability/; 1/13/2016 1:02:26 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: New Year’s Tips on Trustworthy Charities <p>Happy New Year! As this is the first week of 2016, it’s natural for everyone to think of resolutions to improve. As important as they are, I am not talking about diet and exercise, but about being better donors and for charities to be more mindful of donor trust issues. Donors reading this blog are likely to already be careful when making contributions. Sadly, however, research has shown that only about a third of contributors check our charities before making a gift. You can help change this in 2016 be encouraging family, friends and colleagues to visit <a href="http://give.org">Give.org</a> to identify the trustworthiness of charities by verifying if they meet the holistic <a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/"><i>BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</i></a> (i.e., a BBB Accredited Charity).</p> <p>To help ring in more charity trustworthiness in the New Year, we offer the following infographic which identifies some of the most frequent accountability deficiencies found in the rigorous evaluative reports completed by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. These tips point to activities that are basic steps that charities of all sizes should be able to address – the frequency of governing board meetings, providing a results report for the charity’s board, having a detailed expense breakdown in financial statements and producing an annual report.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Facebook has a special <a href="https://www.facebook.com/nonprofits/?fref=photo">page for nonprofits</a> that allows organizations to post images and a brief message (by invitation only.)&nbsp; We are pleased to note that BBB Wise Giving Alliance was invited to post a message on the site which included the infographic below.&nbsp; You can visit our posting here: &nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/nonprofits/photos/a.85612830917.95996.41130665917/10153263692290918/?type=3&amp;theater">https://www.facebook.com/nonprofits/photos/a.85612830917.95996.41130665917/10153263692290918/?type=3&amp;theater</a>&nbsp;</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" alt="" src="/link/ada731bc78d34d4b8994c655887e2236.aspx" height="1374" width="612" /></p> <hr /> <p>As part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide the following video that features Linda Boucard, Director of Public Relations, <a href="http://www.fonkoze.org/">Fonkoze USA</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1JXFIvK">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which serves as a microfinance and poverty alleviation organization in Haiti and has over 65,000 loan recipients and provides other financial services.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/G3K3F0NaNwA" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include: &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1IQTfu7">Accordia Global Health Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1Z8LqHC">Evangelical Christian Humanitarian Outreach</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1kM2eB9">Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2016/01/wise-giving-wednesday-new-years-tips-on-trustworthy-charities/; 1/6/2016 12:03:16 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: The Clock is Ticking for Year End Giving <p>For those U.S. donors seeking to get a 2015 tax deduction for charitable gifts, the clock is ticking. By the time this blog is posted, there will be less than 48 hours left for this opportunity. Not surprisingly, last minute donations are particularly popular with online gifts. For example, <a href="http://www.networkforgood.com/">Network for Good</a> reported via an <a href="http://www.networkforgood.com/digitalgivingindex/">online giving study</a> that 12% of online gifts made in 2014 came in the last three days of the year. In making last minute contributions, here are some points to keep in mind.&nbsp;</p> <p>Give with confidence by verifying the trustworthiness of the charity on <a href="http://give.org">Give.org</a>. Look at our <a href="http://give.org/charity-reviews/national/">national soliciting charity</a> report list to see if the organization meets the 20 <i><a href="/link/bf08473b31114ffdb14b01e3dd6bc76f.aspx">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a>.</i>&nbsp; Or, use the <a href="http://give.org">Give.org</a> <a href="http://give.org/">search engine</a> for both national and local charity reports.&nbsp;</p> <p>If you want to confirm that the organization has received charitable tax-exempt status, you can use the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/Charities-&amp;-Non-Profits/Organizations-Eligible-to-Receive-Tax-Deductible-Charitable-Contributions">IRS search engine</a> but be sure you know the exact official name of the organization.&nbsp;</p> <p>If you decide to give online, you can claim a 2015 deduction as long as the contribution transaction is posted before midnight on December 31<sup>st</sup> even though your credit card bill won’t arrive until 2016.&nbsp;</p> <p>If you prefer to mail a check, you need to be a bit more careful if you want a 2015 deduction. For example, if you use a mailing service other than the U.S. Postal Service, the “delivered when mailed” rule may not apply. Also, don’t post date your check with a 2016 date – doing so makes the check a type of pledge to give in 2016. For more information, see <a href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p526.pdf">IRS Publication 526</a>.</p> <hr /> <p>As part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide the following video that features Scott Case, Chair of the Board of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.networkforgood.com/">Network for Good</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1IDIFql">BBB Accredited Charity</a>).&nbsp; Network for Good enables donors to make online contributions to charities and offers charities training in online fundraising.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/VueV5m1n5I4" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/12/wise-giving-wednesday-the-clock-is-ticking-for-year-end-giving/; 12/30/2015 9:44:34 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Congress, Spending Bills & Charities <p>In the past week, Congress passed the spending bill (Consolidated Appropriations Bill, <a title="Consolidated Appropriations Bill, H.R. 2029" href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2029" target="_blank">H.R. 2029</a>) that pays for the Federal Government until next fall. What many don’t realize, however, is that this bill will not only prevent a government shutdown, but will also provide $32 billion for a variety of health research projects at the National Institutes of Health. A specific example is $6 million for the <a title="National Lupus Patient Registry" href="http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/funded_science/current/lupus-projects.htm" target="_blank">National Lupus Patient Registry</a> program to be conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).&nbsp; As stated by the CDC, “<i>The project is intended to better define the incidence and prevalence of lupus and better characterize individuals with these conditions.</i>”&nbsp; For those who are unfamiliar, Lupus is an autoimmune disease that leads to inflammation and tissue damage.</p> <p>Health research today is funded by a mix of grants from government agencies, institutions, foundations and charities. Each plays an important role in advancing the knowledge base on the prevention, treatment and potential cures of various diseases and conditions. &nbsp;As donors, most of us seek to do our part by funding charities that conduct health research not only during the holiday season, but throughout the year. For those of you who are making end of the year gift decisions, please remember to verify a health charity’s trustworthiness by visiting <a title="Give.org" href="http://give.org/charity-reviews/national/">Give.org</a> to determine if the organization meets the 20 <i><a title="BBB Standards for Charity Accountability" href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></i>.</p> <hr /> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/erddToH0S2Y" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>As part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide the following video that features Sandra Raymond, President &amp; CEO of the <a title="Lupus Foundation of America" href="http://www.lupus.org/" target="_blank">Lupus Foundation of America</a> (a <a title="Lupus Foundation of America" href="http://go.bbb.org/1HDZdbT">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which seeks to improve the quality of life for all people affected by lupus through programs of research, education, support and advocacy.</p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a title="Give.org" href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving.</p> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a title="Ask about a charity" href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/12/wise-giving-wednesday-congress-spending-bills-charities/; 12/23/2015 12:02:39 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Microloans, Poverty and Charitable Giving <p>Today, as the U.S. <a href="http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/default.htm">Federal Reserve</a> is set to announce the first interest rate hike in almost 10 years, many point to this as a sign of a healthy, growing economy. The implications of this change on lending in America brings to mind the “microloan” approach to alleviating poverty, which involves lending small amounts to individuals, some as low as $25 or $100, to help them start a small business, afford going to school, or accomplish other activities to help them improve their lives.&nbsp;</p> <p>While there is no universal agreement on the best way to address poverty, the diversity of available options among charities provide opportunities that help people in their struggle to improve their situation for themselves and their children. We encourage donors to find out more about the charities they choose to support and learn how they are seeking to address the problems they describe so well. And, of course, take the time to verify if the charity meets the 20 holistic <a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a> by reviewing the available reports on Give.org.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>As part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide the following video that features Joshua Tripp, COO &amp; CFO of the <a href="http://www.grameenfoundation.org/">Grameen Foundation</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1UEoZE7">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which helps the world’s poor by providing financial services, information on agriculture and health, and helps poverty-focused organizations improve their operations by providing mobile-based management tools and other technology resources.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Pu2tDNNI1x8" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include: &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1m7zdRo">Aid for AIDS International</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1UzDXLH">Hooved Animal Humane Society</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1P88OP3">National Foundation for Cancer Research</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/12/wise-giving-wednesday-microloans-poverty-and-charitable-giving/; 12/16/2015 11:21:31 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Handling Complaints About Charities <p>Most of the activity on the <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> website comes from individuals seeking to verify a charity’s trustworthiness before they make a donation. This is accomplished by reviewing our <a href="http://give.org/charity-reviews/national/">reports</a> to see if the subject nationally soliciting charity meets the 20 holistic <i><a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></i>. In turn, 57 of the 113 <a href="http://give.org/for-donors/charity-programs-at-local-bbbs/">Better Business Bureaus</a> report on regionally soliciting charities.&nbsp;</p> <p>While such inquiries comprise the vast majority of our charity activity, from time to time, charities can be the subject of public complaint. For national charities, the most common type of complaint consists of individuals seeking to be removed from the mailing list of a charity.&nbsp; At &nbsp;the regional level, complaints can range from concerns with a purchase at a charity thrift store to concerns raised about a pet adopted from an animal shelter.&nbsp; Whatever the cause, our procedure is to forward the complaint to the subject charity and ask that they respond to the individual with a copy to either BBB WGA (or the applicable BBB).&nbsp;</p> <p>For complaints about national charities, the following form can be completed online: <a href="/link/fa8fbcb90e4a48d1bfaec6d99dda7619.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity/</a>.&nbsp; Complaints about regionally soliciting charities can be initiated by completing the following form for local complaints: <a href="https://www.bbb.org/consumer-complaints/file-a-complaint/get-started">https://www.bbb.org/consumer-complaints/file-a-complaint/get-started</a>&nbsp;</p> <p>In addition, Standard 20 of the BBB Charity Standards calls for charities to promptly respond to and act on complaints brought to their attention by the BBB WGA and/or Better Business Bureaus.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>As part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide the following video that features Kelly Browning, Chief Executive Officer of <a href="http://www.aicr.org/">American Institute for Cancer Research</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1IF4RjF">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which funds research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk as well as to interpret scientific data and to educate people about reducing their cancer risk.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/TBIe1a2U2P8" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include: &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1U4lB55">Be the Match Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1NVIWH3">International Eye Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1NGBe1E">International Literacy and Development</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/12/wise-giving-wednesday-handling-complaints-about-charities/; 12/9/2015 2:12:44 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Environmental Organizations <p>The United Nations <a href="http://unfccc.int/meetings/paris_nov_2015/meeting/8926.php">Climate Change Conference</a> is taking place in Paris this week as world leaders gather to discuss global warming and other important environmental matters. Protests have taken place around the world to encourage leaders to take significant actions to address climate issues. This spotlight on the environment during the holiday season will also bring donor attention to charitable organizations that address environmental issues.&nbsp;</p> <p>BBB Wise Giving Alliance reports on a variety of nationally-soliciting environmental groups seeking to address public awareness as well as take action on issues ranging from preserving wildlife to protecting the oceans and forests. Everyone recognizes the importance of protecting natural resources, but we also encourage donors to take the time to verify the trustworthiness of environmental charities by visiting <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a> to verify that they meet the 20 holistic <i><a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a> </i>(i.e., BBB Accredited Charities.)&nbsp;And, if you are more interested in helping environmental groups closer to home, keep in mind that many of the BBBs report on regionally soliciting charities that are engaged in local efforts to do their part in helping the environment.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>As part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide the following video that features Robin Perkins, Director of Marketing and Communications for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.earthshare.org/">EarthShare</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1jyo4HG">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which annually helps hundreds of thousands of individuals connect with environmental and conservation charities. Among other things, they assist a number of workplace giving campaigns.&nbsp; Workplace giving also happens to be the subject of the cover story of the holiday edition of the <a href="http://give.org/globalassets/wga/wise-giving-guides/holiday-2015-guide-article.pdf">Wise Giving Guide</a>. &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/39cksjBkVU8" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include: &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1lXdpIB">Arbor Day Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1IEldUn">Armed Forces Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1O3wVte">Red Cloud Indian School</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/12/wise-giving-wednesday-environmental-organizations/; 12/2/2015 9:37:24 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: December 1 is #GivingTuesday <p>As mentioned in last week’s blog, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (in the U.S.), December 1, is #GivingTuesday, the designated day for donating to charities. As we give thanks this Thanksgiving week, please also remember the causes you care about and donate to trustworthy charities on December 1 and throughout the year. To help give with confidence, here is some advice.</p> <ol> <li>Follow the five basic giving tips as provided in this <a href="http://give.org/news-updates/news/2015/11/five-wise-giving-tips-for-givingtuesday/">press release</a>. The most important thing to remember is to take the time to find out more about the organization <i>before</i> you donate.</li> <li>Verify if your selected charity is trustworthy, by identifying if they meet all 20 of the holistic <a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/"><i>BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</i></a> by accessing charity reports on Give.org</li> <li>Help others learn the wise giving message by participating in a <i>Thunderclap</i>campaign taking place on December 1<sup>st</sup>, Giving Tuesday. For those of you who are unfamiliar a <i>Thunderclap</i> is a specific message that is blasted out all at once, automatically, on social media accounts. Just click on the following link choose the social media platform you would like to use (e.g., Twitter, etc.) and click “add my support.” &nbsp;<a href="https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/33760-give-wisely-on-givingtuesday?locale=en">https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/33760-give-wisely-on-givingtuesday?locale=en</a></li> </ol> <p>Also, check out our full page ad in the December 1 print edition of <i>USA Today</i> that will feature of a listing of BBB WGA national charity seal holders and will encourage everyone to Give Wisely on #Giving Tuesday.</p> <hr /> <p>As part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide the following video that features Jim Stofan, Chief Operating Officer of <a href="http://www.defenders.org/">Defenders of Wildlife</a> (a <a title="BBB Accredited Charity" href="http://go.bbb.org/1IgtMoa">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) works to protect and restore imperiled species throughout North America by transforming policies and institutions and promoting solutions. Defenders promotes the conservation and restoration of North America’s vulnerable species through habitat preservation and restoration on public lands, securing greater wildlife conservation funding and defending and strengthening wildlife and public land management laws and policies.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/QFNNwKGzniY" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/11/wise-giving-wednesday-december-1-is-givingtuesday/; 11/25/2015 9:52:42 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Giving Wisely on #GivingTuesday <p>Four years ago, the <a href="http://www.92y.org/">92<sup>nd</sup> Street Y</a> (a <a href="http://www.bbb.org/new-york-city/Charity-Reviews/charity-human-services-ie-assistance-to-individuals-and-families/92nd-street-y-in-new-york-ny-153778">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) started a national social media campaign to make the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) a designated day for giving. With the help of a growing collaboration of charities from around the world, <a href="http://www.givingtuesday.org/">GivingTuesday</a> has become a global event to encourage generosity to charities on this special day and throughout the year. For the second time, BBB Wise Giving Alliance is proud to be part of this December 1<sup>st</sup> collaboration, along with many participating Better Business Bureaus across the country.&nbsp;</p> <p>We encourage everyone to give generously to the charities of their choice but also remind them to give wisely by following five basic giving tips as provided in a <a href="http://give.org/news-updates/news/2015/11/five-wise-giving-tips-for-givingtuesday/">press release</a> we released yesterday. The most important thing to remember is to take the time to find out more about the organization <em>before </em>you donate.&nbsp; One way to do this is by seeking out the charity reports available through Give.org. There you’ll find rigorous evaluations based on the holistic <em><a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></em> that help you verify the trustworthiness of charities that solicit your support.&nbsp;</p> <p>Sadly, the majority of contributors don’t do any research before they donate. However, you can also help us spread the wise giving word on GivingTuesday by participating in a <em>Thunderclap&nbsp;</em>campaign taking place on December 1<sup>st</sup>, Giving Tuesday. For those of you who are unfamiliar a <em>Thunderclap </em>is a specific message that is blasted out all at once, automatically, on social media accounts. Just click on the <a href="https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/33760-give-wisely-on-givingtuesday?locale=en">this link</a>, choose the social media platform you would like to use (Twitter, etc.) and click “add my support.” &nbsp;Your message will help spread the word to encourage people to give wisely on #GivingTuesday. &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>I also wanted to share a blog that I authored for the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/h-art-taylor/make-a-difference-give-wi_b_8538332.html">Huffington Post</a> that talks about the importance of generosity in the holiday season and points to the example of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, an organization that has learned the value of meeting the <em>BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</em> and continues to maintain donor trust while carrying out a vibrant and growing mission.<i>&nbsp;</i></p> <hr /> <p>As part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide the following video that features Lieutenant General Pete Osman, USMC (Ret.), President and CEO, <a href="http://www.toysfortots.org/default.aspx">Marine Toys for Tots Foundation</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1NDwrtM">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which helps collect and distribute millions of new and unwrapped toys as Christmas gifts for less fortunate children.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/BKHzoFZ0FMo" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include: &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1luBJBp">Gift of Adoption Fund</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1Of2K56">Greenpeace Fund</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1WYLAQz">Save the Redwoods League</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/11/wise-giving-wednesday-giving-wisely-on-givingtuesday/; 11/18/2015 9:35:01 AM 5 BBB Tips to Ensure Wise Giving on #GivingTuesday <p><strong><em class="small_subhead">BBB Wise Giving Alliance Urges Donors to Research before Giving</em><br /><br />Arlington, VA </strong>– Each year, American charities receive one-third of their annual donations during the holiday giving season. With Dec. 1 marking this year’s #GivingTuesday, <a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">BBB Wise Giving Alliance</a> (BBB WGA) urges donors to research charities before giving to ensure their generous contributions are going to trustworthy organizations.&nbsp;</p> <p>“The evaluations we provide give donors insight into charity trustworthiness, helping them make wiser giving decisions,” remarks Art Taylor, president and CEO of BBB WGA. ”Holiday donations can make a real impact. Therefore, it’s critical that donors’ hard-earned dollars go to charities that operate ethically.”</p> <p>BBB WGA is sharing five tips to help donors give wisely and make the most of their generosity this holiday season.&nbsp;</p> <ol> <li><strong>Watch out for name similarities.</strong> When charities seek support for the same cause, their names are often similar. Before you give, be sure you have the exact name of the charity to avoid a case of mistaken identity.</li> <li><strong>Avoid on-the-spot donation decisions from unfamiliar organizations.</strong> The holidays bring a higher frequency of donation requests outside public locations. Don’t succumb to pressure to make an immediate giving decision. Responsible organizations will welcome your gift tomorrow as much as they do today.</li> <li><strong>Be wary of emotional appeals.</strong> Marketers have been known to exploit the holidays to make emotional pleas to donors. Always research to verify that your selected charity operates ethically.</li> <li><strong>Avoid charities that don’t disclose.</strong> Although participation is voluntary, charities that don’t disclose any of the requested information to BBB WGA raise a critical red flag for donors. Visit Give.org to find out if your selected charity is nondisclosure.</li> <li><strong>Rely on standards-based evaluations.</strong> Charities can demonstrate they are trustworthy by agreeing to in-depth evaluations such as the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. Get free access to charity reports at <a title="Give.org" href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>.</li> </ol> <p>“#GivingTuesday celebrates the generosity of people around the world during the holiday season,” says Henry Timms, co-founder of #GivingTuesday and executive director of 92nd Street Y, where the movement was born. &nbsp;“To make sure this generosity has the greatest impact, we hope donors take time to evaluate charities before donating.”</p> <p><strong>ABOUT BBB WISE GIVING ALLIANCE<br /></strong>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 <a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>.</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/11/five-wise-giving-tips-for-givingtuesday/; 11/17/2015 10:19:45 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Veterans Organizations <p>On Veterans Day, our thoughts turn to veterans and military service members, especially those in need of assistance.&nbsp; Charities devoted to the various needs of veterans and their families deserve our support throughout the year. But for those donors thinking of making a special contribution in honor of Veterans Day, we urge them to be cautious to avoid some of the more questionable efforts seeking to take advantage of American generosity.&nbsp;</p> <p>We are here to help the public make informed decisions about the organizations they want to support. BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers the following tips on giving to veterans and military affiliated organizations:</p> <ul> <li><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Mistaken Identity</span></strong>: Watch out for name confusions. Many veterans’ charities include virtually the same words in different order or slightly different form.</li> <li><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Clear Program Description</span></strong>: Look for a clear description of the organization’s programs in its appeals and on its website. If the charity says it is helping veterans, does it explain how (financial assistance, shelter, counseling) and where it is doing so?<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> <li><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Telemarketing Cautions</span></strong>: Telemarketing can be a costly method of fundraising unless carefully managed. If called, do not hesitate to ask for written information on the charity’s programs and finances before making a donation decision.</li> <li><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">On-the-Spot Donation Decisions</span></strong>: Be wary of excessive pressure in fundraising. Don’t be pressured to make an immediate on-the-spot donation. Charities should welcome your gift whenever you want to send it.</li> <li><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Donating Used Clothing and Other Goods</span></strong>: Find out how the charity benefits from the collection and resale of used clothing and other in-kind gifts. Sometimes the charity receives only a small portion of the resale price of the item or may have a contractual arrangement to get a flat fee for every household pick-up, no matter what the contents.</li> <li><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Check with Outside Sources Before Giving</span></strong>: In addition to charity reports on <a href="http://give.org">Give.org</a>, check with your state government’s charity registration agency, usually a division of the Attorney General’s office.</li> </ul> <p>We hope the above provides some guidance and welcome you to learn more at <a href="http://give.org">Give.org</a>.</p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include: &nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1kMBzVc">Conservation Fund</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1WRBITi">Diabetes Research Institute Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1OEc5q8">From the Top</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/11/wise-giving-wednesday-veterans-organizations/; 11/11/2015 9:32:22 AM Helen O’Rourke McClary <p>Helen O’Rourke McClary, who helped establish and grow one of our predecessor organizations, the Philanthropic Advisory Service of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, passed away on October 22, 2015. &nbsp;She served as Vice President of CBBB’s Philanthropic Advisory Service from 1971 to 1986 and was instrumental in the development of the early versions of our charity accountability standards and helped bring national attention to the importance of transparency for charitable organizations. We are grateful for her legacy and saddened to have lost a good friend.</p> <p><a href="http://www.pineisland-eagle.com/page/content.detail/id/530146/Helen-Lee-O-Rourke-McClary.html?nav=5052">http://www.pineisland-eagle.com/page/content.detail/id/530146/Helen-Lee-O-Rourke-McClary.html?nav=5052</a></p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/11/helen-orourke-mcclary/; 11/5/2015 1:03:20 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Board Oversight & Planning <p>One of most important stewardship responsibilities of a charity’s board of directors is carrying out its planning functions. As mentioned in a previous <i>Wise Giving Wednesday</i> <a href="http://give.org/news-updates/news/2015/10/wise-giving-wednesday-charity-budgeting/">blog post</a>, part of that planning process involves the preparation of the organization’s budget which is addressed in <a href="http://give.org/for-charities/How-We-Accredit-Charities/">BBB Standard 14</a>.&nbsp; This financial projection of next year’s revenue and expenditures, however, does not complete the full planning picture. Proper planning also involves a discussion of the charity’s mission, goals, skills, resources, and the available strategies to achieve the selected targets.&nbsp;</p> <p>A helpful component of board planning activities involves a consideration of the organization’s performance and effectiveness in addressing its mission.&nbsp; As called for in <a href="http://give.org/news-updates/news/2015/02/wise-giving-wednesday-building-trust-part-5/">BBB Standards 6 and 7</a>, some type of “results reporting” should be shared in a written report provided to the charity’s governing board. In our view, a report to the governing board about the charity’s effectiveness would more likely include a candid analysis (about lessons learned as well as achievements) than a public document. The temptation to water down findings to make the charity appealing to media, funders and competitors is stronger when the report is for all eyes to see.&nbsp;</p> <p>In a few days my good friend Kevin Washington, CEO of the YMCA USA and I will be delivering a luncheon address in New Orleans at the upcoming <a href="https://boardsource.org/eweb/blf-2015/2015Overview.pdf">BoardSource Leadership Forum</a>. This is the 15<sup>th</sup> year that <a href="https://boardsource.org/eweb/">BoardSource</a> has held this convening of nonprofit board leaders for a two-day conference on strengthening nonprofit leadership.&nbsp; I am looking forward to providing comments on governance related matters at this forum and am pleased to have another opportunity to share the BBB Wise Giving Alliance perspective on charity accountability.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide the following video that features Eskinder Negash, Senior Vice President for Global Engagement, <a href="http://www.refugees.org/">U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/19l56z7">BBB Accredited Charity</a>), a national refugee resettlement and immigration organization that specializes in providing services to foreign born populations of forced migrants in the United States.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vxGEzw2rTDM" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include: &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1b4WiPy">National Multiple Sclerosis Society</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1NrmPq9">Resist</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1MyU8T4">St. Baldrick's Foundation</a></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance&nbsp;</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/11/wise-giving-wednesday-board-oversight-planning/; 11/4/2015 12:41:29 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Charities & Cybersecurity <p>There are two types of nonprofit organizations: those that have been hacked, and those who don’t know they have been hacked.&nbsp; This memorable point was raised earlier in October, by a panelist during a livestreamed discussion, “<a href="http://www.nycharities.org/Events/EventLevels.aspx?ETID=8613">Cybersecurity Planning for Nonprofit Leaders</a>,” presented by the BBB Foundation of Metropolitan New York.&nbsp; You can learn more and access a video recording of the session at the link provided.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>We have all heard about data security breaches that have taken place at retail stores and major corporations, but increasingly charitable organizations are experiencing cybersecurity problems as well.&nbsp; Cybersecurity has a direct and powerful impact on donor and client trust, so it is vital for nonprofit leaders to take steps that can lower the risks of suffering a harmful cyber incident. At the <a href="http://isembarks2015.com/Track/embark/">Independent Sector</a> annual conference taking place this week in Miami, one of the panel discussions, “Preparing to be Hacked,” addressed data security issues and nonprofits.&nbsp;</p> <p>The <i><a href="http://give.org/for-charities/How-We-Accredit-Charities/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></i> (Standard 18) includes specific provisions that address the content of privacy policies on charity websites. While this provides charity website visitors with some knowledge about how their data might be used by the organization, there are other factors that charities can consider to improve their cybersecurity. Recently, the BBB has created a new online resource , <a href="/link/5455852c97bd4e6181627f8d25310572.aspx">BBB Cybersecurity</a>, to provide valuable tools, tips, and content to help organizations manage cyber risks and educate people about cybersecurity best practices.&nbsp;</p> <p>Among other things, this site includes the BBB 5-step approach to cybersecurity that can be helpful to charities:&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Step 1: Identify -</strong> Take inventory of key technologies you use, identify your data “crown jewels” and evaluate your cyber risk profile.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Step 2: Protect - </strong>Assess what protective measures you need and can afford to have in place (including systems, insurance, policies and procedures) to be as prepared as possible for a cyber incident.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Step 3: Detect -</strong> Put measures in place to alert you to current or imminent threats to system integrity, or loss or compromise of data.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Step 4: Respond -</strong> Make and practice a cyber Incidence Response Plan to contain an attack or incident and maintain business operations in the short term.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Step 5: Recover -</strong> Know what to do to return to normal charity operations after an incident.&nbsp;</p> <p>We hope the above provides some initial insight and suggestions and welcome you to learn more at the links provided.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide the following video that features Ellie Hollander, President &amp; CEO of <a href="http://www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/">Meals on Wheels America</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1k9WSzz">BBB Accredited Charity</a>)&nbsp;which supports more than 5,000 community-based senior nutrition programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior hunger and isolation.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/shpc3hgqAqQ" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include: &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1zfkOIQ">Lutheran World Relief</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1kMy7u6">Polar Bears International</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1LzFbTC">Samaritan's Purse</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/10/wise-giving-wednesday-charities-cybersecurity/; 10/28/2015 9:35:53 AM Hurricane Patricia Donation Tips <p>In anticipation of Hurricane Patricia that is expected to hit the Pacific coast of Mexico, BBB Wise Giving Alliance urges donors to consider the following tips so they might avoid questionable appeals or poorly managed efforts that are likely to emerge in the storm’s wake.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers donors these tips for disaster relief giving:&nbsp;&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Be cautious when giving online.</span></strong><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;</b>Be cautious about spam messages and emails that claim to link to a relief organization. If you want to give to a charity involved in relief efforts, go directly to the charity’s website.&nbsp; In response to Hurricane Katrina and the Haiti earthquake, the FBI and others raised concerns about websites and new organizations that were created overnight, allegedly to help victims.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Rely on expert opinion when it comes to evaluating a charity.</span></strong><b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;Be cautious when relying on third-party recommendations such as bloggers or other websites, as they may not have fully researched the relief organizations they list. The public can go to&nbsp;<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="http://give.org/">www.give.org</a></span>&nbsp;to research relief organizations and other charities to verify that they are accredited by the BBB which means they meet the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability. &nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Be wary of claims that 100 percent of donations will assist relief victims.</span></strong><b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;Despite what an organization might claim, charities have fund raising and administrative costs. Even a credit card donation will involve, at a minimum, a processing fee. If a charity claims 100 percent of collected funds will be assisting earthquake victims, the truth is that the organization is still probably incurring fund raising and administrative expenses.&nbsp; It may use some of its other funds to pay these costs, but the expenses will still be incurred.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Find out if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the impacted areas.</span></strong>&nbsp; Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to bring in new aid workers to provide assistance quickly.&nbsp; See if the charity’s website clearly describes what the charity can do to address immediate needs.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups.</span></strong>&nbsp; Some charities may be raising money to pass along to relief organizations.&nbsp; If so, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and giving directly to those that have a presence in the region. Or, at a minimum, check out the ultimate recipients of these donations to see whether they are equipped to provide aid effectively.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations.</span>&nbsp;</strong> In-kind drives for food and clothing, while well intentioned, may not necessarily be the quickest way to help those in need – unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid properly. Ask the charity about its transportation and distribution plans. Be wary of those who are not experienced in disaster relief assistance.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>ABOUT BBB WISE GIVING ALLIANCE:&nbsp;</strong>BBB Wise Giving Alliance&nbsp;(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, fund raising, appeal accuracy, and other issues. Learn more about the 20 BBB Charity Standards and about local charity review at local Better Business Bureaus at&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>MEDIA CONTACTS:</strong>&nbsp;For more information, journalists should contact Katherine Hutt at&nbsp;<a href="mailto:khutt@council.bbb.org">khutt@council.bbb.org</a>&nbsp;or Bennett Weiner at&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bweiner@council.bbb.org">bweiner@council.bbb.org</a>.</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/10/hurricane-patricia-donation-tips/; 10/23/2015 4:06:26 PM Wise Giving Wednesday – Building Trust Part 15 – Detailed Expense Breakdown <p>The old expression “the devil is in the details” is often used to remind us that we need to pay attention to the fine print if we are to ensure a thorough understanding of contracts and other written agreements.&nbsp; What is true for legal documents is also true for charity financial statements. &nbsp;In some ways, charity financial statements are telling a story about the charity’s financial position in the past year and how it used its available resources to carry out its mission. And like all stories, people are interested not only in how it ends (e.g., total expense figures) but also what led to that result (e.g., the nature and amount of specific expenses that are included in those totals).&nbsp;</p> <p>One of the <i><a href="http://give.org/for-charities/How-We-Accredit-Charities/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></i> (Standard 12) specifically calls for charity financial statements to include a detailed breakdown of expenses showing the portion of natural expenses incurred (e.g., salaries, postage, travel) for the three categories of program services, fundraising and administration.&nbsp; Such a detailed expense grid can help verify, for example, that a health research charity is distributing research grants or that a charity that is raising money through direct mail is incurring expenses typically associated with such development efforts. &nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/for-charities/How-We-Accredit-Charities/sample-detailed-functional-expense-breakdown/?id=251142">Click here</a> to see a sample of such a detailed functional breakdown of expenses.&nbsp; Such verifications could not be made if the charity financial statements solely included the total expense figures for three categories (programs, fundraising and administration) without the detailed breakdown.&nbsp;</p> <p>Currently, generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) require such a detailed expense breakdown in the audited financial statements of &nbsp;voluntary health and welfare organizations but not other types of charities. However, in practice, most of the charity financial statements reviewed by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance include such a detailed grid whether or not they are health and welfare organizations. In part, this is because a version of this detailed breakdown of expenses is already included in Part IX of the IRS Form 990. Since charities need to complete such a table for the IRS, most will also include it as part of their audited financial statements as well. &nbsp;One other point to keep in mind that for purposes of meeting BBB Charity Standard 12, if the charity has more than one major program, (for example, medical research and health education) then the referenced grid should provide the expense breakdown for each of these major programs.&nbsp;</p> <p>Financial details, such as the referenced breakdown of expenses, are an important part of a charity’s accountability story, but, as demonstrated by the broad scope of the BBB Charity Standards, they should also be considered in the context of other important issues such as the charity’s governance, results reporting, and appeal accuracy.</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide the following video that features Chuck Scofield, Chief Development Officer of <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1LXGAX6">Share Our Strength</a>. &nbsp;Among other things, Share Our Strength carries out a No Kid Hungry campaign that seeks to engage the public to make ending child hunger a national priority.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8wDkbV8B5HE" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include: &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1GiaiUM">FOCUS North America</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1Gia53Y">Living Water International</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1GpEMDW">National Council of YMCAs</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/10/wise-giving-wednesday-building-trust-part-15-detailed-expense-breakdown/; 10/21/2015 1:16:32 PM Wise Giving Wednesday – Building Trust Part 14 - Charity Budgeting <p>“A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”&nbsp; This priceless quote from the late Yogi Berra, the witty, retired baseball professional who passed away on September 22, 2015, reminds us of the financial necessity of keeping track of our budgets. For charities, the last quarter of the fiscal year is the time that most organizations finalize their expenditure plans for the coming year.&nbsp;</p> <p>A charity’s budget is more than just a table of expected expenditures; it represents a cornerstone of good stewardship. While a charity’s audited financial statements and IRS Form 990 usually get the lion’s share of public attention, these items are historical and tell us where the organization has been, not where it is going. In contrast, a budget shows how the charity intends to spend funds in the current or coming year and will reflect any changes in program priorities and/or new activities.&nbsp;</p> <p>One of the <i><a href="http://give.org/for-charities/How-We-Accredit-Charities/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></i> (Standard 14) specifically calls for charities to have a board-approved budget for the current fiscal that includes certain information.&nbsp; Specifcally, this standard calls for the budget to identify the projected total amounts to be spent on program activities, fund raising and administration. Such an expense breakdown will help the board gain a better understanding of how the charity’s resources will be used.&nbsp; While a table of budgeted expenses in natural categories such as salaries, postage, travel, etc. provides essential detail, the recommended allocation totals helps complete the financial picture.&nbsp;</p> <p>Also, budgets are not a once a year charity activity.&nbsp; Well-managed governing boards will periodically review the budget in relation to actual revenues and expenses and adjust activity, as needed, based on available resources and/or changes in activity plans.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide the following video that features Gail McGovern, President &amp; CEO of the American Red Cross.&nbsp; With total revenues of about $3 billion, more than 450 chapters in all 50 states, over 25,000 paid staff members, 400,000 volunteers and responding to nearly 70,000 disasters large and small each year, the American Red Cross is one of the largest American charities in existence and one of the most recognized charity brands.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WURB7zfXw24" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1X3FKKi">Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1Rb2Qej">Save the Chimps</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1G5F3vS">Shelter for Life International</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/10/wise-giving-wednesday-charity-budgeting/; 10/14/2015 12:10:21 PM BBB WGA Offers Tips for South Carolina Flood Relief <div class="article-text"> <p class="article-date"><span><strong>Arlington, VA –</strong> October 9, 2015 –&nbsp;</span>As South Carolina works to overcome the aftermath of the historic and devastating flood that has impacted many homes and communities, many Americans are supporting disaster relief through donations.&nbsp;<a title="BBB Wise Giving Alliance" href="http://www.prweb.net/Redirect.aspx?id=aHR0cDovL3d3dy5naXZlLm9yZy8=" rel="nofollow">BBB Wise Giving Alliance</a>&nbsp;advises donors to avoid questionable solicitations and take the time to ensure that contributions will be put to good use.</p> <p class="responsiveNews">“The pictures out of South Carolina are heart-breaking,” said H. Art Taylor, president and CEO of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, “but donors need to be mindful of some basic advice about supporting disaster relief so that their gifts get to those who need them most.”</p> <p class="responsiveNews">Be cautious when giving online. Be cautious about spam messages and emails that claim to link to a relief organization. If you want to give to a charity involved in relief efforts, go directly to the charity’s website. Following Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Haiti, the FBI and others raised concerns about websites and new organizations that were created overnight, allegedly to help victims.</p> <p class="responsiveNews">Rely on expert opinion when it comes to evaluating a charity. Be cautious when relying on third-party recommendations such as bloggers or other websites, as they may not have fully researched the relief organizations they list. The public can go to&nbsp;<a title="Give.org" href="http://www.prweb.net/Redirect.aspx?id=aHR0cDovL2dpdmUub3JnLw==" rel="nofollow">Give.org</a>&nbsp;to research relief organizations and other charities to verify that they are accredited by BBB which means they meet the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.</p> <p class="responsiveNews">Be wary of claims that 100 percent of donations will assist relief victims. Despite what an organization might claim, charities have fund raising and administrative costs. Even a credit card donation will involve, at a minimum, a processing fee. If a charity claims 100 percent of collected funds will be assisting disaster victims, the truth is that the organization is still probably incurring fund raising and administrative expenses. It may use some of its other funds to pay these costs, but the expenses will still be incurred.</p> <p class="responsiveNews">Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups. Some charities may be raising money to pass along to relief organizations. If so, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and giving directly to those that have a presence in the region. Or, at a minimum, check out the ultimate recipients of these donations to see whether they are equipped to provide aid effectively.</p> <p class="responsiveNews">Gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations. In-kind drives for food and clothing, while well intentioned, may not necessarily be the quickest way to help those in need – unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid properly. Ask the charity about its transportation and distribution plans. Be wary of those who are not experienced in disaster relief assistance.</p> <p class="responsiveNews" style="text-align: center;">###&nbsp;</p> <p><span>ABOUT BBB WISE GIVING ALLIANCE:</span></p> <p>BBB Wise Giving Alliance&nbsp;(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, results 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&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>.</p> <div class="divider_grey">&nbsp;</div> </div> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/10/bbb-wga-offers-tips-for-south-carolina-flood-relief/; 10/9/2015 1:08:54 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Emerging Trends in Disaster Fundraising <p>On Monday, October 5<sup>th</sup>, I was part of a panel discussion about emerging trends in disaster fundraising at the Washington DC annual meeting of the <a href="http://www.nasconet.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/NASCO-2015-ANNUAL-CONFERENCE-AGENDA.pdf">National Association of State Charity Officials</a> (NASCO) which is held in conjunction with the National Association of Attorneys General. &nbsp;This topic is on our minds this week in the wake of the horrific flooding that occurred in South Carolina.&nbsp; I began my presentation discussing how mobile text to give campaigns (for example, the <a href="http://www.mobilegiving.org/">Mobile Giving Foundation</a>) which began as a means to support disaster relief efforts, have since become integrated as part of general giving campaigns.&nbsp; However, the online environment for disaster giving has further evolved into various alternative platforms that enable charities to quickly organize fundraising campaigns on new online payment platforms. &nbsp;Some of these platforms such as the crowdfunding activities conducted by the <a href="https://www.globalgiving.org/">GlobalGiving Foundation</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1DdsaY1">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) carefully vet all of the projects funded through their website, while others do not. In addition, some of the new giving platforms are run by start-up, for-profit companies that may be harder to check out due to the lack of a track record. In turn, lesser known payment platforms, especially in the disaster giving environment, create new challenges for both government regulators and monitoring groups in terms of keeping track of the latest giving activities and calling out problem practices.&nbsp;</p> <p>My fellow panelist at the NASCO conference was Bob Ottenhoff, President and CEO of the <a href="http://disasterphilanthropy.org/">Center for Disaster Philanthropy</a> which seeks to increase the effectiveness of contributions given to disasters. Among other things, Bob pointed out how media coverage drives disaster giving, which is mostly reactive to these events. He also talked about the importance of disaster relief charities providing a financial and activity report after a disaster and monitoring restricted funds that are established for specific disasters.</p> <hr /> <p>As part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Mari Kuraishi, one of the founders and the current President of GlobalGiving. Under her leadership, the organization has raised over $188 million since 2002 from over 475,000 donors and funded 12,500 projects around the world. &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/QCKNX9QeQFg" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1MZCM4M">Joyce Meyer Ministries</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1VEROiC">Native American Rights Fund</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1OlhW1D">PFLAG</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/10/wise-giving-wednesday-emerging-trends-in-disaster-fundraising/; 10/7/2015 1:17:03 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: BBB Wise Giving Alliance Outreach Activities <p style="text-align: left;">Outreach is an important part of our work at the BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB WGA). We participate in a variety of outside conferences, meetings and advisory committees to help spread the word about our donor education activities and encourage organizations to meet the 20 <i><a href="http://give.org/for-charities/How-We-Accredit-Charities/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></i>.&nbsp; On September 15<sup>th</sup>, I attended the <a href="http://www.idahononprofits.org/annual-statewide-nonprofit-conference">Idaho Statewide Nonprofit Conference</a> held at Boise State University and made a presentation about how we carry out our charity reporting activities.&nbsp; On September 24<sup>th</sup>, I was a keynote speaker at a <a href="~/link/4e8678a7a6264d348a37a2981b4fc8dc.aspx">Charity Symposium</a> held by the Better Business Bureau in Charlotte, North Carolina.&nbsp; My remarks included comments about the Overhead Myth campaign which seeks to encourage donors not to solely focus on finances when assessing a charity.&nbsp; And, in this coming week, I have two presentations.&nbsp; On October 5<sup>th</sup>, I will be speaking about emerging trends in disaster fundraising at the Washington DC annual meeting of the <a href="http://www.nasconet.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/NASCO-2015-ANNUAL-CONFERENCE-AGENDA.pdf">National Association of State Charity Officials</a> (NASCO) which is held in conjunction with the National Association of Attorneys General. Following that, I am off to Phoenix, Arizona to be part of a panel discussion about overhead issues being held at the 2015 <a href="http://conferences.unitedway.org/content/financial-and-talent-management-forum">United Way Financial and Talent Management Forum</a>. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: left;">These interactions with both charitable organizations, government regulators and others help us educate the community about the nature of our work but also help us learn how to better serve donors by being informed about the latest accountability issues.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p style="text-align: left;">On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Wayne Pacelle, President &amp; CEO of <a href="http://www.humanesociety.org/?referrer=http://www.give.org/charity-reviews/national/animal-protection/humane-society-of-the-united-states-in-washington-dc-3129">The Humane Society of the United States</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1FLwnL6">BBB Accredited Charity</a>).&nbsp; This organization works to protect animals through advocacy, direct care, education, investigation, litigation, field work, emergency response services, and public policy initiatives.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/PzJs2E4Kv0s" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;Give.org&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1j0Qdba">Alternative Gifts International</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1KRCWs7">Muscular Dystrophy Association</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1VrmmEB">Special Operations Warrior Foundation</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/09/wise-giving-wednesday-bbb-wise-giving-alliance-outreach-activities/; 9/30/2015 11:12:36 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Cybersecurity for Charities <p>BBB Wise Giving Alliance and the BBB Foundation of Metro New York are collaborating to present a free livestreamed program, <b><i>Cybersecurity Planning for Nonprofit Leaders</i></b>, on October 20 from 9:30-11:30am EDT.&nbsp; To see details and register to view the livestream, click <b><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="/link/f332bf39debf42efa0dde57939864a3c.aspx">here</a></span></b> to visit the program’s web page.&nbsp;</p> <p>Increasingly, nonprofit organizations are experiencing cyber-attacks.&nbsp; Often, charities are soft targets because they have not yet taken steps to protect their data resources and plan for potential breaches. &nbsp;&nbsp;Health and education nonprofit organizations seem to be at particular risk, although charities of any type or size can and do suffer from a cyber-incident.&nbsp; According to Symantec’s <a href="https://www.symantec.com/content/en/us/enterprise/other_resources/21347933_GA_RPT-internet-security-threat-report-volume-20-2015.pdf">Internet Security Threat</a> report for 2014, 60% of all targeted spear-phishing attacks struck small to medium-sized organizations; security incidents in that year particularly affected health-related organizations (37%), educational organizations (10%) and government/public sector organizations (8%). &nbsp;And in a recent nonprofit governance <a href="http://www.thenonprofittimes.com/news-articles/online-security-a-major-issue-for-fundraisers/">survey</a>, 81% of 470 respondents indicated that cybersecurity is now among the top 10 risks faced by their nonprofit.&nbsp;</p> <p>A potential cybersecurity incident poses a major reputational and financial peril to charities of all sizes and types.&nbsp; If a cyber-attack occurs, charity leaders need to be prepared to manage the resulting situation quickly and effectively. &nbsp;While technology can help reduce risks posed by cyber-attacks, advance planning to manage cyber problems – before, during and after they happen – can also provide significant assistance. As a good starting point, the National Institute of Standards and Technology has published a <a href="http://www.nist.gov/cyberframework/">Cybersecurity Framework</a> which provides a helpful general roadmap for organizations to consider:&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-left: 30px;"><strong>1. Identify</strong>&nbsp;cyber risks by assessing risk exposure</p> <p style="margin-left: 30px;"><strong>2. Protect</strong><b>&nbsp;</b>data through technology and data governance planning</p> <p style="margin-left: 30px;"><strong>3. Detect</strong>&nbsp;a cybersecurity problem when it happens</p> <p style="margin-left: 30px;"><strong>4. Respond</strong><b>&nbsp;</b>effectively to a cybersecurity incident</p> <p style="margin-left: 30px;"><strong>5.&nbsp;Recover</strong><b>&nbsp;</b>from the impact of a cybersecurity or data impairment event</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Steve Delfin, President and CEO of <a href="https://www.charities.org/">America’s Charities</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1iwwf7f">BBB Accredited Charity</a>) which helps organizations generate financial support for its members through public sector and private sector workplace giving programs.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/gzIIe0ADp-E" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;Give.org&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1MpQiP4">Academy of American Poets</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1LNPwIW">Ocean Conservancy</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1MIQ20n">Volunteers of America</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/09/wise-giving-wednesday-cybersecurity-for-charities/; 9/23/2015 10:11:20 AM Nonprofit Workshop on Cybersecurity Planning <p>The Metro New York BBB Foundation and BBB Wise Giving Alliance are offering an in-person and livestreamed workshop intended for nonprofits to help them be prepared when it comes to cybersecurity. &nbsp;<strong>"Cybersecurity Planning for Nonprofit Leaders"</strong> will be hosted in Manhatten, but registration is also available for the free online livestream.</p> <p><a href="/link/ffa3fcc039254c9484deb6678ff582e1.aspx">See the full press release here</a>. &nbsp;More information, including registration, is available at <a href="/link/f332bf39debf42efa0dde57939864a3c.aspx">www.bbb.org/new-york-city/cybersecurity-planning/</a></p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/09/nonprofit-workshop-on-cybersecurity-planning/; 9/21/2015 2:43:05 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Nondisclosure Charities <p>To complete our national charity evaluations, BBB Wise Giving Alliance asks organizations to complete a detailed online form and also submit supporting documents about their finances and activities. Charities that do not provide <strong>any </strong>of the requested information, despite repeated written requests, are called “nondisclosure charities.”&nbsp; Our reports on these organizations have a literal red flag, a red exclamation mark, along with an explanation about this lack of cooperation.&nbsp;</p> <p>Yesterday, September 15<sup>th</sup>, we issued a <a href="http://give.org/news-updates/news/2015/09/new-advice-from-bbb-wise-giving-alliance-avoid-charities-that-dont-disclose/">release</a> on this subject to help bring the public’s attention to this type of report result.&nbsp; In part, we were prompted to do so after recognizing that recent <a href="http://give.org/news-updates/news/2015/05/wise-giving-wednesday-a-breach-of-donor-trust/">government actions</a> taken against charity fraud cases showed that most of the organizations cited were organizations that had nondisclosure reports on our Give.org website.&nbsp;</p> <p>We are not suggesting that all nondisclosure groups are involved in such bad behaviors, but we do warn donors to be extremely cautious when contributing to charities that have not provided BBB WGA with any of the requested information.&nbsp;</p> <p>Due to the broad scope of the 20 <i><a href="http://give.org/for-charities/How-We-Accredit-Charities/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></i> we require much more than just an annual tax return (the IRS Form 990) in order to complete our rigorous evaluations. This also reflects our long-held belief that finances alone do not provide the full picture of a charity’s accountability.&nbsp; To learn more about our efforts to encourage charity disclosure, <a href="http://give.org/for-charities/power-of-trust-why-disclosure-is-important/">click here</a>.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Michelle DeLaune, Chief Operating Officer of the <a href="http://www.missingkids.com/home">National Center for Missing and Exploited Children</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1KgAOtI">BBB Accredited Charity</a>).&nbsp; This organization works closely with families of missing children to help rescue and recover them and also seeks to help prevent child sexual exploitation.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/JOQR7yo8yM4" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;Give.org&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1W3d6Zm">Action Against Hunger</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1ND4aZm">Autism Society of America</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1Kq3rYN">Shiloh International Ministries</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are&nbsp; interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/09/wise-giving-wednesday-nondisclosure-charities/; 9/16/2015 11:53:51 AM New Advice from BBB Wise Giving Alliance: Avoid Charities That Don’t Disclose <p><em><strong>Arlington, VA –</strong></em> September 15, 2015 – It’s not your imagination; there have been more charity scams in the news recently. BBB Wise Giving Alliance has drawn a line in the sand, calling charities that do not disclose requested information to BBB WGA a “critical red flag” for donors.&nbsp;</p> <p>In May, the Federal Trade Commission and all 50 State Attorneys General filed charges against four cancer charities, one of the largest charity fraud cases in the nation’s history. In July, the New York State Attorney General announced a court action to shutter a children’s leukemia charity for “touting non-existent and defunct programs.” One common element for four of the charities in these cases is that they did not disclose any of the information requested by BBB WGA and the fifth disclosed but did not meet several <i>BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</i>. A BBB WGA nondisclosure report is a warning sign for donors to be cautious about donating their hard-earned dollars to charities that might be engaged in bad practices.&nbsp;</p> <p>“To verify trust, donors seek guidance from third-party expert evaluators at BBB WGA,” notes Art Taylor, president and CEO of BBB WGA. “To produce these reports, we ask charities to complete a detailed online questionnaire and provide copies of supporting documents. &nbsp;In our decades monitoring charities, this is the first time we are advising donors to avoid or be extremely cautious when contributing to nondisclosure charities.”&nbsp;</p> <p>While not all nondisclosure charities are scamming donors, charities that choose not to participate in the review process could be hiding something. <a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">Give.org</a> has reports on national charities, based on not only finances, but also how well the charity is run, its fundraising ethics and whether it assesses the effectiveness of its programs. BBB WGA also produces a free <i>Wise Giving Guide</i> that summarizes evaluations.&nbsp;</p> <p>“BBB WGA has long recognized that true disclosure goes beyond simple overhead measures” explains Taylor. “While the IRS Form 990 filed annually by charities is available, it is not evaluative and can be cumbersome for the average donor. We require much more from charities than an IRS Form 990 to complete our reports.”&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;">###&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>ABOUT BBB WISE GIVING ALLIANCE:</strong> </p> <p>BBB Wise Giving Alliance&nbsp;(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, results 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 <a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">Give.org</a>.</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/09/new-advice-from-bbb-wise-giving-alliance-avoid-charities-that-dont-disclose/; 9/15/2015 9:29:50 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Syrian Refugee Relief <p>Fleeing an area of conflict with just the clothes on your back and what you can carry is a nightmare none of us ever want to experience.&nbsp; So when media attention is drawn to refugees from Syria pouring into other countries, it is not surprising this has prompted many to make donations to assist those in need.&nbsp; To help contributors identify relief organizations that are addressing various health, nutrition and related needs of refuges, BBB Wise Giving Alliance has complied a <a href="http://give.org/news-updates/news/2015/09/bbb-wise-giving-alliance-issues-donor-advisory-for-syrian-refugee-assistance/">list</a> of such relief organizations that meet all 20 of the <i><a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></i>.&nbsp; We urge donors to exercise caution in responding to online giving requests or solicitations from unfamiliar organizations.&nbsp; For additional advice, see the <a href="http://give.org/news-updates/news/2015/09/bbb-wise-giving-alliance-issues-donor-advisory-for-syrian-refugee-assistance/">press release</a> we sent out yesterday.</p> <p>Sadly, this refugee problem did not emerge overnight but has been building over a number of years.&nbsp; In turn, the needs won’t disappear when the stories are no longer in the headlines.&nbsp; So keep in mind there will be continuing opportunities to provide help in the months to come.</p> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Jennifer Windsor, CEO of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.womenforwomen.org/">Women to Women International</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1JVhQuG">BBB Accredited Charity</a>).&nbsp; This organization was founded twenty years to help the most marginalized of women in conflict affected countries to rebuild their lives.&nbsp; The heart of their program is a 12-month training program that helps provide basic skills such as economic, literacy and knowledge of health and basic rights.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2jGr6QB1fKo" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/09/wise-giving-wednesday-syrian-refugee-relief/; 9/9/2015 11:54:10 AM BBB Wise Giving Alliance Issues Donor Advisory for Syrian Refugee Assistance <p><strong>Arlington, VA</strong> - September 8, 2015 – As the Syrian refugee crisis continues&nbsp;to grow, BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB WGA) warns donors to be cautious when making donations to assist refugees in need.&nbsp; <br /><br />“Tragedies generate public sympathy but unfortunately also attract scam fund raising efforts,” notes H. Art Taylor, president and CEO of BBB WGA. “We are reminding contributors to be on the lookout for questionable solicitors and recommend that they focus giving efforts on charities that already have a presence in the impacted areas.”&nbsp;</p> <p>When donating to assist in the Syrian refugee crisis, keep the following tips in mind to avoid scams.</p> <p><strong>Be cautious when giving online.<br /> </strong>Be cautious about online giving, especially in response to spam messages and emails that claim to link to a relief organization. Instead, go directly to the charity’s web site.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Rely on expert opinion when it comes to evaluating a charity.</strong><br /> Be cautious when relying on third-party recommendations from bloggers or other web sites. The public can go to&nbsp;Give.org to verify if a charity meets the 20 <i>BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</i>.</p> <p><strong>Be wary of claims that 100 percent of donations will assist relief victims.<br /> </strong>Despite what an organization might claim, charities have fund raising and administrative costs.</p> <p><strong>Find out if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the impacted areas.</strong><br /> Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to bring in new aid workers to provide assistance quickly.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Determine if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups.</strong><br /> Some charities may be raising money to pass along to relief organizations.&nbsp; If so, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and giving directly to those that have a presence in the region.</p> <p>The following organizations are collecting funds for Syrian refugee relief and meet all of the BBB Charity Standards:</p> <p><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1Qohwqu">American Refugee Committee</a><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1hUEVnE"><br />CARE USA</a><br /><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1g7SG17">Catholic Relief Services</a><br /><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1Noj2uv">Church World Service</a><br /><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1NZDOk6">Concern Worldwide US</a><br /><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1VM3LVB">GlobalGiving</a><br /><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1ObfxXn">Helping Hand for Relief and Development</a><br /><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1LigiZB">International Medical Corps</a><br /><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1PZBkzS">International Rescue Committee</a><br /><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1NojtFf">Islamic Relief USA</a><br /><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1LW29UO">Lutheran World Relief</a><br /><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1VM43vD">Medical Teams International</a><br /><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1GWZ8RF">Mennonite Central Committee</a><br /><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1ESm7QA">Mercy Corps</a><br /><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1M9gdgF">Oxfam America</a><br /><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1hUFQEy">Plan International USA</a><br /><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1ib5aah">Save the Children</a><br /><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1UEYZH9">United States Fund for UNICEF</a><br /><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1Obg7o7">World Food Program USA</a><br /><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1KCM3C6">World Relief</a><br /><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1LW2yGR">World Vision</a></p> <p><strong>ABOUT BBB WISE GIVING ALLIANCE:&nbsp;<br /></strong>BBB Wise Giving Alliance&nbsp;(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, results 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 <a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">Give.org</a>.</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/09/bbb-wise-giving-alliance-issues-donor-advisory-for-syrian-refugee-assistance/; 9/8/2015 3:42:15 PM Wise Giving Wednesday - Building Trust Part 13 <p>When people are asked about a charity’s “transparency,” the most likely response is whether the charity makes its financial statements available. Although BBB WGA believes that true transparency, as reflected by the broad scope of our 20 BBB Charity Standards, means much more than just access to financial statements, it is nevertheless a fundamental part of charity accountability. BBB Charity Standard 11 calls for soliciting organizations to make available to all, on request, complete annual financial statements prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). When the charity’s income exceeds $500,000, these statements should be prepared by an outside auditor (i.e., Certified Public Accountant). If the charity’s income is less than this, the standard identifies other, lower cost, alternative financial presentations.&nbsp;</p> <p>I want to point out some very key aspects of this standard. One is that despite the popularity of the IRS Form 990 due to its availability on the Internet, BBB WGA has always used the charity’s audited financial statement as the preferred source for the financial part of its accountability assessments. This preference, in part, recognizes that audit reports have a greater deal of reliability than the Form 990, are more comparable since they are based on recognized accounting rules (GAAP), and incorporate some income items (i.e., donated services and unrealized gains and losses on investments) that are not allowed to be included as part of revenue in IRS Form 990. In other words, audited financial statements provide a more complete financial picture of the organization.&nbsp;</p> <p>As noted above, we recognize the vital importance of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) in helping to ensure the objectivity and consistency of financial information being used in our evaluations and resulting reports. If BBB WGA finds a significant inconsistency with GAAP based on the auditor’s opinion or BBB WGA’s analysis, the subject charity will not meet this standard. And, the specific reason will be explained in our report.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Joseph H. Haggerty, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of <a href="http://www.unitedway.org/">United Way Worldwide</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1CfP6Wd">BBB Accredited Charity</a>). Joe provides a brief overview of United Way activities and explains what they do to help strengthen donor trust. &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/upPWQGJ-JTc" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include: &nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1FjSS3W">Arthritis Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1Q8CppM">Christian Appalachian Project</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1N2TxNx">International Fellowship of Christians and Jews</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/09/wise-giving-wednesday-building-trust-part-13/; 9/2/2015 12:00:03 PM Wise Giving Wednesday – Building Trust Part 12 <p>Unless told otherwise, donors are going to expect their contributions to be used for current purposes. This common sense principle is especially evident in disaster relief appeals when emergency assistance needs are in the headlines. Even if a charity is not addressing natural catastrophes, however, fundraising appeals usually engage the recipient by telling an emotional story about the significance of the issue the charity is addressing, often demonstrating how a specific individual was impacted. The objective is to motivate the recipient to send a donation today, but it also helps lead to expectations of contributions going for current activities.</p> <p>Of course, good financial practice requires charities to also save and not to spend every single dollar as soon as they receive it. Otherwise, they won’t be able to continue their good works during times of the year when the flow of donations are typically less.&nbsp; An unrestricted reserve fund that would be enough to pay for three months worth of expenses is considered a healthy financial goal for charities. This was evidenced in a <a href="http://www.nccs2.org/wiki/images/3/3c/OperatingReservesWhitePaper2009.pdf">report</a> produced in 2008 by charity leaders including representatives from BBB WGA.</p> <p>However, if a charity has an unusually large reserve fund that could pay for several years of the charity’s expenses, this is a material fact that donors want to know. Standard 10 in the BBB Charity Standards seeks to ensure that a charity uses its available resources to carry out its current program activities and not to build an unreasonably large reserve fund.&nbsp;To meet this standard a charity’s unrestricted net assets available for use should not be more than three times the size of either the past year’s expenses or the current year’s budget, whichever is higher.&nbsp;</p> <p>BBB WGA recognizes that charities that build such unusually large reserves generally have a rationale for saving such an amount.&nbsp; In recognition of this and the fact that it may be inappropriate or impractical to spend more of these reserves in short period of time, a charity can still meet this standard if unrestricted reserves exceed the three year threshold as long as they include a recommended disclosure in their appeals and on their websites.&nbsp; See the <a href="http://give.org/for-charities/How-We-Accredit-Charities/">explanation</a> for Standard 10 for additional details about this disclosure.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our <b>Building Trust <span style="text-decoration: underline;">Video</span> Series</b> we are pleased to provide a video that features <b>Mary Gilberti, J.D.</b><b>, &nbsp;</b>Executive Directorof <a href="http://www.nami.org/">NAMI</a>, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1VaP4ez">BBB Accredited Charity</a>). Mary provides a brief overview of the NAMI activities and explains what they do to help strengthen donor trust.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/W6V_PBTrIfk" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://Give.org">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1K5ZlFC">Conservation International Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1Nl2jIg">National Psoriasis Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1TTpiOS">Youth Development Fund</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to <a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a> if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/08/wise-giving-wednesday-building-trust-part-12/; 8/26/2015 1:22:46 PM Wise Giving Wednesday - Collaboration <p>Almost 400 hundred years ago, the famous English poet John Donne said that “no man is an island.” In many ways, the same can be said for charities as well. While each charity carries out its own mission, they often can achieve greater success by collaborating and working with others seeking to address similar needs. While this is most often seen in the wake of a natural disaster as relief organizations address emergency needs of the impacted population, many other types of charities have achieved greater results by working with communities and other organizations.</p> <p>As part of our <b>Building Trust Video Series</b> we are pleased to provide a video that features <b>Johannah Barry,</b> President of the <a href="http://www.galapagos.org/">Galapagos Conservancy</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1E5IGk8">BBB Accredited Charity</a>).&nbsp; The Conservancy is a United States based organization that works to conserve marine and terrestrial ecosystems and their flora and fauna in the Galapagos Islands. Among other things, it supports research and public policy to address the human impact on the Galapagos wilderness. Each of their major programs has a major partner, either another nonprofit organization or a government institution. As you will see in the video, Johannah explains that all of their programs are created in collaboration since they believe without it conservation activities are not going to be effective.</p> <p>The Galapagos Conservancy is a great example in demonstrating that even on a literal island, you need to work with others to achieve a successful result. The lesson for donors is to look for charities that collaborate to help identify those that may help avoid duplication of effort and are likely to have a better chance in achieving their announced goals and objectives.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/i589PEJk63s" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://Give.org">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1K5ZlFC">Conservation International Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1Nl2jIg">National Psoriasis Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1TTpiOS">Youth Development Fund</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to <a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a> if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/08/wise-giving-wednesday-collaboration/; 8/19/2015 1:03:45 PM Wise Giving Wednesday – Building Trust Part 11 <p>Two years ago, when the BBB Wise Giving Alliance was one of the co-signers on <a href="http://overheadmythcom.b.presscdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/GS_OverheadMyth_Ltr_ONLINE.pdf">The Overhead Myth</a> letter, more than one charity executive approached me with the mistaken impression that we were no longer using expense ratios in our charity evaluations. That wasn’t the case at all.&nbsp; As explained in the letter, we urged the donating public not to solely consider financial ratios in making their giving decisions and to look at a more complete picture of a charity’s accountability. We still strongly believe that today as reflected in the diversity of issues covered by the 20 <a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">BBB Charity Standards</a>. Overall, we are seeking to ensure that the charity is spending its funds in accordance with donor expectations as expressed in its fund raising appeals.</p> <p>As identified in BBB Charity Standards 8 and 9, we have specific expense thresholds that we verify as part of the financial analysis of our accreditation assessments. Specifically, our standards call for:</p> <ul> <li>Total program service expenses to be at least 65% of total expenses, and</li> <li>Total fund raising expenses not to exceed more than 35% of total related contributions (i.e., donations received as a result of fund raising efforts).</li> </ul> <p>While I will probably devote more than one blog to this subject, there are a few major points about these two standards that I would like to explain. First, in applying both of these standards we look at a full year’s worth of expenses, not just an individual fund raising campaign. Another significant issue is that both of these standards serve as threshold verifications. In other words, as long as the subject charity satisfies these minimums, our report does not make any judgment about the charity’s expense ratios. The third point is that we generally use the charity’s audited financial statements, as opposed to the IRS Form 990, when completing the financial part of our standards. &nbsp;In our view, the audited financial statements provide a more reliable and accurate presentation of the charity’s finances, in part, because they are required to follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) which helps ensure that the statements are consistent, complete and more comparable.</p> <p>Please also recognize that the two cited ratios above have different denominators.&nbsp; The program ratio is based on total expense while the fund raising ratio is based on total contributions.</p> <p>Also, BBB WGA will consider extenuating circumstances that the charity brings to our attention in applying these standards (for example, the higher fund raising expense of a newly created organization). Each charity is reviewed on a fact circumstance basis.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>On a separate note, as part of our <b>Building Trust <span style="text-decoration: underline;">Video</span> Series</b> we are pleased to provide a video that features <b>Robert Lee Bull Jr, &nbsp;</b>Chief Development Officer of the <a href="http://www.preservationnation.org/?referrer=http://www.give.org/charity-reviews/national/arts-and-culture/national-trust-for-historic-preservation-in-the-united-states-in-washington-dc-3558#.VcqcovlVhBc">National Trust for Historic Preservation</a> &nbsp;(a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1PkILlt">BBB Accredited Charity</a>). Robert provides a brief overview of the National Trust’s program activities and explains what they do to help strengthen donor trust.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Tkh5aObP1cg" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://Give.org">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1gzy0Qb">Mali Rising Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1gzy4zj">National Park Trust</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1IKpw09">Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation</a></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to <a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a> if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/08/wise-giving-wednesday-building-trust-part-11/; 8/12/2015 9:26:47 AM Wise Giving Wednesday – Donor Engagement <p>While most charities keep good records of the cumulative value of a donor’s gifts, a growing number of charities are recognizing the added value of engaging donors as part of their outreach activities. In a previous blog, I addressed the significant role that <a href="http://give.org/news-updates/news/2015/07/wise-giving-wednesday-youth-volunteering/">volunteering</a> has in philanthropy. But, engagement can be much more diverse than volunteer opportunities. It can take the form of providing an opportunity to exchange views on websites, informing supporters about relevant lectures or presentations in their area and other outreach activities that help bring more attention to the importance of the charity’s cause.</p> <p>As part of our <strong>Building Trust Video Series</strong> we are pleased to provide a video that features <strong>Collin O’Mara</strong>, President &amp; CEO of the <a href="http://www.nwf.org/">National Wildlife Federation</a> (a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1M50Pjs">BBB Accredited Charity</a>). &nbsp;As you will see in Collin’s video interview, the National Wildlife Federation understands the importance of public outreach in seeking to get children and families more connected with nature, wildlife and the outdoors. For example. their well-known <i>Ranger Rick</i> educational program is geared to engaging youth in environmental issues. This success provides an important lesson beyond just environmental causes and shows how interactions between donors and charities can be more than just a donation – it can be a learning experience and a chance to build stronger bonds between organizations and supporters.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pG9SKRsy2tA" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit <a href="http://Give.org">Give.org</a> or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1M4RXuf">Born Free USA</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1JLVLQF">Make-A-Wish Foundation of America</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1UnE39f">PRASAD Project</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to <a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a> if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/08/wise-giving-wednesday-donor-engagement/; 8/5/2015 11:30:53 AM Wise Giving Wednesday - Crowdfunding & Philanthropy <p>The crowdfunding concept got its start over 15 years ago as a means to collect small gifts from a large group of people to support a project, person or organization. Within a short time it grew in both the for-profit and charitable marketplace, to become what is now a well-recognized means of raising funds online.&nbsp; One of the earliest charity entrants in this space is GlobalGiving.org which began a website that enabled donors to fund grassroots projects from around the world that are working to address a variety of needs such as education, housing and job skills. &nbsp;As part of our <strong>Building Trust Video Series</strong> we are pleased to provide a video that features <strong>Mari Kuraishi</strong>, one of the founders and the current President of <strong><a href="https://www.globalgiving.org/">GlobalGiving</a> </strong>(a <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1DdsaY1">BBB Accredited Charity</a>). Under her leadership, the organization has raised over $188 million since 2002 from over 475,000 donors and funded 12,500 projects around the world.&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/QCKNX9QeQFg" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>Donors should keep in mind, however, that not all crowdfunding sites operate in the same way. Below are some tips excerpted from the <a href="http://give.org/globalassets/wga/wise-giving-guides/summer-2013-guide-article.pdf">crowdfunding cover story</a> that appeared in a previous edition of the Wise Giving Guide magazine:</p> <ul> <li><b>Charities can be checked</b></li> </ul> <p>Crowdfunding websites run by charitable organizations (such as GlobalGiving) can provide opportunities to learn more about the organization’s programs, finances and whether they are registered to solicit with state government agencies.&nbsp; In addition, third-party sources such as reports on <a href="http://give.org/charity-reviews/national/">Give.org</a> can help donors verify that the charities meet recognized standards.</p> <ul> <li>&nbsp;<b>Be especially careful after a disaster or tragedy</b></li> </ul> <p>Watch out for those seeking to take advantage of high public sympathy immediately after a disaster or tragedy by setting up a crowdfunding project that may have no official connection to any charitable organization and may be using names and photos of victims without the families’ permission.&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><b>Specialized crowdfunding sites may be more adept</b></li> </ul> <p>If a crowdfunding sits specializes in a particular kind of activity such as medical funding, school projects or overseas development, there is a greater chance they will have the experience and skills to engage in more oversight over the featured projects.&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><b>Read the fine print</b></li> </ul> <p>Crowdfunding sites vary in terms of whether the donors or the project organizer will be charged for site administrative costs and credit card fees.&nbsp; If a project does not achieve its targeted fundraising goal, sites also vary as to whether the donation will be refunded.<b>&nbsp;</b></p> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1IK3jEA">Archaeological Conservancy</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1IrGHqm">Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1z6aTF1">Plan International USA</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1h4SsJ5">Project Survival</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to <a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a> if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/07/wise-giving-wednesday-crowdfunding-philanthropy/; 7/29/2015 11:28:40 AM Wise Giving Wednesday - Workplace Giving <p>While workplace giving is a well-established employee outreach activity at most major companies, it has changed and evolved over the years in very significant ways. &nbsp;At one time, United Way and other combined appeals dominated the giving options that were available to employees.&nbsp; Today, many businesses offer other alternatives ranging from matching payroll contributions designated for community charities selected by employees to engaging staff with electronic and social media donation activities. &nbsp;&nbsp;Apparently, employee “engagement” has become the dominating trend in developing these workplace programs.&nbsp; In addition, some companies have incorporated <a href="http://give.org/news-updates/news/2015/07/wise-giving-wednesday-youth-volunteering/">volunteerism</a> in the mix of encouraged charity involvement and have spread some of the giving options to be throughout the year and not just during the fall.&nbsp;</p> <p>Workplace giving is also the subject of the latest &nbsp;<b>Building Trust Video Series</b> which features an interview with <b>Thomas G. Bognanno</b>, President &amp; CEO of&nbsp;<b><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1IiV5Bn">Community Health Charities</a> </b>(a BBB Accredited Charity).&nbsp; <a href="http://corp.healthcharities.org/">This organization</a> has one of the largest workplace giving programs in the U.S. and during the past five years has helped distribute more than $400 million to its nearly 2,000 member charities which focus on health issues. Not only is Tom knowledgeable on workplace giving but he also strongly believes in the importance of accountability.&nbsp; As you will hear in the video, Community Health Charities developed its own charity participation guidelines based on the <a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a>. This helps demonstrate that BBB Charity Standards have impact not only in the <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1D2qWzc">evaluative reports</a> appearing on our website but also in the various ways that charities encourage compliance in their relations with their members, local affiliates and chapters.<b>&nbsp;</b></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nw_p5PBbuXU" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1GCrFIQ">Atlas Service Corps</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1HRsBel">Common Cause Education Fund</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1LtzTeq">National Council of the US Society of St. Vincent de Paul</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/07/wise-giving-wednesday-workplace-giving/; 7/22/2015 10:32:59 AM Wise Giving Wednesday - Youth & Volunteering <p>Volunteers at charities have always played an essential role in the growth of philanthropy. Whether it consists of friends and family helping to raise money for a favorite cause or neighborhood youth asking you to sign an advocacy petition, we are asked with increasing frequency, especially in the summer months, to engage with charities that need our help. Last month at our <a href="http://give.org/advancing-trust-in-the-charitable-sector/agenda/">BBB WGA Charity Conference</a>, one of our speakers, Derrick Feldmann, President of <a href="http://www.themillennialimpact.com/research/">Achieve</a>, shared his views about reaching out to Millennials and recommended that charities not just simply ask them for donations but engage them in some meaningful way to develop a relationship that can build over time. To a great extent, volunteering provides that opportunity.&nbsp;</p> <p>I was reminded of the importance of volunteering when reviewing the latest entry of our <strong>Building Trust Video Series,</strong> which features an interview with <strong>Jaime Berman Matyas</strong>, President and Chief Executive Officer<b>, <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1O6pItM">Student Conservation Association</a> </b>(SCA). SCA has been involved in building the next generation of conservation leaders and encouraging environmental stewardship since 1957. To learn more about their efforts, view the video, visit their website at <a href="http://www.thesca.org">www.thesca.org</a> and read our BBB WGA <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1O6pItM">report</a> which shows they are a BBB Accredited Charity.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/CVS1lMeO60s" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe><b>&nbsp;</b></p> <p>To get additional advice about volunteering, read our previous Wise Giving Guide <a href="http://give.org/globalassets/wga/wise-giving-guides/winter-2009-guide-article.pdf">cover story</a> which encourages donors to consider some key questions before they engage in the volunteering marketplace. Read the story to find the answers:</p> <p>• What should you expect of the charities when you or your child offers their time and talent?</p> <p>• What should the charity expect of the volunteer?</p> <p>• Are you aware that the IRS does not allow you to deduct the value of your time as a donation, but gas and other incidental costs may be deductible?</p> <p>• Is volunteering, with so many potential rewards for both charity and volunteer, always a win-win arrangement?&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1e0DEsW">CaringBridge</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1e0DEsW">Friends Without a Border</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1f3xIQD">Paralyzed Veterans of America</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/07/wise-giving-wednesday-youth-volunteering/; 7/15/2015 10:16:27 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Building Trust Video Series, Interview with the CEO of the American Red Cross <p>With total revenues of about $3 billion, more than 450 chapters in all 50 states, over 25,000 paid staff members, 400,000 volunteers and responding to nearly 70,000 disasters large and small each year, the <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1zfdSeH">American Red Cross</a> is one of the largest American charities in existence and one of the most recognized charity brands.&nbsp; By any measure, the management and oversight of such a huge institution can appear daunting.&nbsp; To strengthen its ability to meet this challenge, the Red Cross embarked on a major reorganization in recent years that changed its structure and relationship with local affiliates.&nbsp;</p> <p>Prior to 2008, the Red Cross had as many as 3,500 chapters each with its own board of directors, accounting systems, bank accounts, email platforms and purchasing. The local executive reported to his/her own local board and there was little resource sharing among chapters as each raised funds to meet their own budgets.&nbsp; Five years later, after a major consolidation that was completed in 2013, the Red Cross became a single managed institution with just one board of directors at the national level, chapter consolidation, centralization of IT functions, marketing, finances and back office operations and a change in focus at the local level which was able to devote more attention to the communities being served. The changes implemented provided more flexibility in addressing local needs as a result of this greater coordination, among other things.&nbsp;</p> <p>With this background, we are pleased to provide the following video of an interview with Gail McGovern, President &amp; CEO of the American Red Cross.&nbsp; Ms. McGovern helped lead the reorganization described above and continues to oversee one of America’s largest charities.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WURB7zfXw24" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: left;">We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1QAMz3X">American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1bLdtpP">CARE USA</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1CpdiwL">Catching the Dream</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1dLUsno">charity:water</a></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/07/wise-giving-wednesday-building-trust-video-series-interview-with-the-ceo-of-the-american-red-cross/; 7/8/2015 9:29:31 AM Wise Giving Wednesday - Building Trust Video Series <p>More and more we are hearing that videos have become an important forum to communicate information in a quick and meaningful fashion.&nbsp; So with today’s blog we are proud to launch our <strong>Building Trust Video Series,</strong> which features an interview with <strong>Jean Knaack, Executive Director of <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1HxInjK">Road Runners Club of America</a></strong>. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>This video series is intended to provide the donating public with a chance to view comments from various charity leaders who believe in the importance of trustworthiness.&nbsp; Among other things, topics covered in the taped interviews will discuss the charity’s mission, how it defines success, the value of being a BBB Accredited Charity Seal participant, and what measures they take to help ensure their organization’s commitment to strengthening donor trust.&nbsp;&nbsp; We hope you will enjoy the chance to see how charities are recognizing the importance of accountability in carrying out their good works.&nbsp; We appreciate the time they have taken to spend with us and are proud to have Jean Knaack in our first video.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/S5VF6F-pfh0" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1f1De7a">Animal Legal Defense Fund</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1CK08Vn">Association of Jewish Family and Children's Agencies</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1Ca3mqL">B'nai B'rith International</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1HxkkBk">National Park Foundation</a></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to <a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a> if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/07/wise-giving-wednesday-building-trust-video-series/; 7/1/2015 3:57:23 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Building Trust Part 10 <p><img style="float: left; margin: 0px 5px;" title="Art Taylor" alt="Art Taylor" src="http://give.org/globalassets/wga/pictures/art-taylor-blog-insert.jpg" height="198" width="218" />Charities both large and small have many things in common but one of the more important similarities is the presence of a charity’s website.&nbsp; For many donors and potential donors, this may be the first opportunity to see the organization describe what they do and provide fundamental facts to help visitors understand the organization’s mission, perspective and skills. Over the years websites have become the leading outreach vehicle for charities and are updated on a continuing basis to help maintain visitor interest and implement the latest design trends.&nbsp; And, most charity websites today either ask for donations or provide a link that enables visitors to make a gift with their credit card.</p> <p>In terms of the BBB Charity Standards (Standard 17), we seek to verify that a charity’s website includes certain basic facts so that donors will be able to access fundamental information to help them make informed decisions.&nbsp; Oddly, one of the recommended information items that is sometimes hard to find is the charity’s address.&nbsp; In our view this omission is more inadvertent than intentional.&nbsp; Charity websites often enable visitors to send an email or other online communication that enables people to instantly send a message to the charity.&nbsp; But an address is important as it may help visitors identify the location of the organization. Donors may prefer to donate to charities close to their own communities. In turn, a charity website may even represent an organization that is located outside the United States.&nbsp; Unless identified, you really cannot assume where the organization resides.</p> <p>Due its Internet availability on GuideStar.org and some state government agencies, the IRS Form 990, the annual financial form charities file with the IRS, has become a popular source of charity financial information.&nbsp; In view of this, Standard 17 calls for charities to provide a link to the IRS Form 990. Or, at a minimum, a properly labeled link to the page on the GuideStar site that provides access to the latest 990 it has filed.</p> <p>Finally, Standard 17 calls for the charity’s website to include the same information recommended in annual reports (Standard 16).&nbsp; This charity does not need to produce a formal published annual report.&nbsp; Rather this part of the standard can be satisfied by having a page of the charity’s website that includes certain facts or links to pages that include this information:</p> <ul> <li>Charity’s mission</li> <li>Summary of accomplishments in the past year</li> <li>Board roster</li> <li>Financial information that provides total income in the past year, an expense breakdown (i.e., in the same program, administrative, and fundraising categories appearing in the financial statements) and ending net assets.&nbsp; Some charities provide their full audited financial statements, which provides mush mote than this requirement.&nbsp; But, at a minimum, we hope to see the specified information.</li> </ul> <p>Websites have become a communication staple for charitable organizations.&nbsp; That is all the more reason that charities should keep in mind what facts they should be sure to include to help contributors, encourage trust and maintain good accountability practices.</p> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. &nbsp;Visit&nbsp;Give.org&nbsp;or&nbsp;local BBBs&nbsp;to check out any charity before giving. &nbsp;Our recently evaluated charities include: &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1LooOKn">CURE Childhood Cancer</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1BBaMCC">DoSomething<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1CtDqkk">Solve ME/CFS Initiative</a><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1GyTimy">Wild Animal Sanctuary</a></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/06/wise-giving-wednesday-building-trust-part-10/; 6/24/2015 2:47:45 PM BBB Wise Giving Alliance Offers Giving Tips Following Charleston Tragedy <p><strong>Arlington, VA</strong> – <i>June 18, 2015</i> – In the wake of the horrific shooting that killed nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, BBB Wise Giving Alliance is warning about the potential for fund raising scams, and is urging donors to be aware of the different circumstances that often emerge in tragedy-related philanthropy.</p> <p>“The hate crime that is being called the ‘Charleston massacre’ is such a shocking and emotional event,” said Art Taylor, president and CEO of BBB Wise Giving Alliance, the national charity monitoring arm of the Better Business Bureau. “Many people are going to want to donate to the families of the victims, the historic church, and the community. We are warning donors to be on the lookout for questionable solicitors and scammers, not to mention people who might have good intentions but no experience with charity fund raising.”</p> <p>BBB Wise Giving Alliance urges donors to give thoughtfully and avoid those seeking to take advantage of the generosity of others. Here are BBB WGA’s tips for trusted giving:</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">1. Thoughtful Giving:</span></strong>&nbsp; Take the time to check out the charity to avoid wasting your generosity by donating to a questionable or poorly managed effort. The first request for a donation may not be the best choice. Be proactive and find trusted charities that are providing assistance.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">2. State Government Registration:</span></strong>&nbsp; About 40 of the 50 states require charities to register with a state government agency (usually a division of the State Attorney General’s office) before they solicit for charitable gifts. If the charity is not registered, that may be a significant red flag.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">3. Respecting Victims and Their Families:</span>&nbsp;</strong> Organizations raising funds should get permission from the families to use either the names of the victims and/or any photographs of them. Some charities raising funds for the victims of previous shootings did not do this and were the subject of criticism from victims’ families.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">4. How Will Donations Be Used?</span></strong>&nbsp; Watch out for vague appeals that don’t identify the intended use of funds. For example, how will the donations help victims’ families? Also, unless told otherwise, donors will assume that funds collected quickly in the wake of a tragedy will be spent just as quickly. See if the appeal identifies when the collected funds will be used</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">5. What if a Family Sets Up Its Own Assistance Fund</span>?&nbsp;</strong> Some families may decide to set up their own assistance funds. Be mindful that such funds may not be set up as charities. Also, make sure that collected monies are received and administered by a third party such as a bank, CPA or lawyer. This will help provide oversight and ensure the collected funds are used appropriately (e.g., paying for funeral costs, counseling, and other tragedy-related needs.)</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">6. Advocacy Organizations:</span></strong>&nbsp; Tragedies that involve violent acts with firearms can also generate requests from a variety of advocacy organizations that address gun use. Donors can support these efforts as well but note that some of these advocacy groups are not tax exempt as charities. Also, watch out for newly created advocacy groups that will be difficult to check out.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">7. Online Cautions:</span></strong>&nbsp; Never click on links to charities on unfamiliar websites or in texts or emails. These may take you to a lookalike website where you will be asked to provide personal financial information or to click on something that downloads harmful malware into your computer. Don’t assume that charity recommendations on Facebook, blogs or other social media have already been vetted.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">8. Financial Transparency:</span></strong>&nbsp;&nbsp; After funds are raised for a tragedy, it is even more important for organizations to provide an accounting of how funds were spent. Transparent organizations will post this information on their websites so that anyone can find out and not have to wait until the audited financial statements are available sometime in the future.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">9. Newly Created or Established Organizations:</span>&nbsp; </strong>This is a personal giving choice, but an established charity will more likely have the experience to quickly address the circumstances and have a track record that can be evaluated. A newly formed organization may be well-meaning but will be difficult to check out and may not be well managed.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">10. Tax Deductibility:</span></strong>&nbsp; Not all organizations collecting funds to assist this tragedy are tax exempt as charities under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donors can support these other entities but keep this in mind if they want to take a deduction for federal income tax purposes. In addition, contributions that are donor-restricted to help a <span style="text-decoration: underline;">specific</span> individual/family are not deductible as charitable donations, even if the recipient organization is a charity.</p> <p><strong>ABOUT BBB WISE GIVING ALLIANCE:</strong> BBB Wise Giving Alliance&nbsp;(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, fund raising, appeal accuracy, and other issues. Learn more about the 20 BBB Charity Standards and about local charity review at local Better Business Bureaus at&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>.</p> <p><strong>ABOUT BBB:</strong> For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2014, people turned to BBB more than 165 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.4 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at <a href="/link/5c6878613f374fde9f6464d3e8edc230.aspx">bbb.org</a>.</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/06/bbb-wise-giving-alliance-offers-giving-tips-following-charleston-tragedy/; 6/18/2015 5:08:24 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: June 12th Charity Conference Highlights <p><img style="float: left; margin: 5px 15px;" alt="Art Taylor" src="/link/4ed952736875492997411568fbc5358e.aspx" height="228" width="250" />Those who attended our June 12<sup>th</sup> conference on “Advancing trust in the Charitable Sector” benefited from the expertise of a variety of experts and thought leaders who provided a broad overview of accountably and trust issues facing charities in the United States and abroad. &nbsp;While I intend to produce future blogs on some of the discussions that took place, I want to share a few highlights for those who were unable to join us.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Security &amp; Privacy</strong>: Alison Lefrak of the Federal Trade Commission (Senior Attorney, Division of Privacy and Identity Theft Protection) explained how the FTC plays a leading role in addressing online privacy and security protections for consumers and that it supported proposed data security legislation that would give FTC jurisdiction to bring cases against nonprofits as well.</p> <p><strong>Cultural Differences that Influence Trust</strong>: Representatives from the Taiwan NPO Self Regulation Alliance and DZI (Germany’s charity monitoring organization) explained how they report on charities in their respective countries and the significance of their work in strengthening donor trust.</p> <p><strong>ALS Association &amp; Ice Bucket Challenge</strong>:&nbsp; Carrie Martin Munk, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer, ALS Association, gave a fascinating summary of how ALS Association handled the large volume of donations they received and described their ice bucket plans for 2015.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Gaining Trust of New Generations</strong><b>:</b>&nbsp; Derrick Feldmann, President &amp; Founder of Achieve, talked about how charities have sought to engage Millennials and noted that he is working on a revised study on Millennials and charities.</p> <p><strong>Communicating Charity Value &amp; Inspiring Trust</strong><b>:&nbsp; </b>Andrew Watt, President &amp; CEO, Association of Fundraising Professionals, underscored the significant role of ethical standards in ensuring a trustworthy charitable sector and reminded everyone that true change takes time and continuing effort to achieve and is not quickly accomplished.</p> <p>The audience appreciated the observations and insights provided by these and other speakers and had an opportunity to raise additional points during the Q&amp;A session after each panel.</p> <p>We thank all the presenters and participants and will be providing links to slides and other information from this conference.</p> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. &nbsp;Visit&nbsp;<a title="Give.org" href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or&nbsp;local BBBs&nbsp;to check out any charity before giving.</p> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a title="Ask about a charity" href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/06/wise-giving-wednesday-june-12th-charity-conference-highlights/; 6/17/2015 3:17:24 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: June 12th Charity Conference Will Take a Global View of Charity Accountability <p><img style="margin: 5px 15px; float: left;" alt="" src="/link/4ed952736875492997411568fbc5358e.aspx" height="228" width="250" />As Americans, we sometimes assume we are the only ones facing the problems we see within our shores and don’t take the time to see how other nations tackle similar concerns.&nbsp; Philanthropy is no different, especially in terms of charity accountability.&nbsp; At our upcoming charity conference on June 12<sup>th</sup>, we will hear about charity accountability programs in other countries such as Germany and Taiwan and learn how cultural differences might influence donor trust in charities and fundraising strategies.&nbsp; It will be a surprise to some that many of the same trust challenges faced in the U.S. are also experienced around the world.&nbsp;</p> <p>The panel discussion on this global subject will be moderated by Lindsey Coates, Executive Vice President of InterAction, an alliance of 180 organizations engaged in such areas as international or domestic relief and development.&nbsp;</p> <p>Panelists are: &nbsp;<i>&nbsp;</i></p> <ul> <li><i>Joyce Feng, President, Taiwan NPO Self-Regulation Alliance </i>&nbsp;</li> <li><i>Burkhard Wilke, CEO, DZI (Germany’s charity monitoring organization)</i></li> <li><i>Robert Zachritz, Vice President for Advocacy &amp; Government Relations, World Vision United States</i>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Also, as a growing number of American charities are looking into expanding their outreach activities to other parts of the world, this forum will provide a great opportunity to identify both similarities and differences in terms of accountability issues faced by charities.</p> <p>We hope you will be able to joint us on June 12<sup>th</sup>.&nbsp; <a href="https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07easgse0e64ed26a9&amp;oseq=&amp;c=&amp;ch=">Registration is still open</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. &nbsp;Visit&nbsp;Give.org&nbsp;or&nbsp;local BBBs&nbsp;to check out any charity before giving. &nbsp;Our recently evaluated charities include: &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1f2IXcu">American Jewish World Service</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1e30Nfj">Amnesty International of the USA</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1IFoNlk">Project AWARE Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1IvispZ">Unbound</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/06/wise-giving-wednesday-june-12th-charity-conference-will-take-a-global-view-of-charity-accountability/; 6/10/2015 10:31:23 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Privacy and Security Discussion Will Be Part of June 12th Charity Conference <p><img style="float: left; margin: 5px 15px;" alt="" src="/link/4ed952736875492997411568fbc5358e.aspx" height="228" width="250" /></p> <p>While I have written previous blogs on the subject of donor privacy, I would like to bring to your attention that our upcoming charity conference will include an outstanding panel discussion that addresses this issue even further.&nbsp;</p> <p>One of the panel discussions at our June 12<sup>th</sup> meeting (<a href="http://give.org/advancing-trust-in-the-charitable-sector/agenda/">Advancing Trust in the Charitable Sector</a>) is on the subject of Charity Data Security &amp; Privacy.&nbsp; Senior privacy officials from two prominent nonprofits will discuss the unique privacy and security challenges their organizations face in today’s dynamic online environment, and will offer their insights on how to manage and protect sensitive personal information entrusted to charities by donors and others.&nbsp; We will also hear from an FTC representative about the role of the regulator in&nbsp; enforcing privacy and data protection laws as and promoting best practices at the state and federal level. &nbsp;We lined up a great selection of speakers:</p> <ul> <li>Allison LeFrak, &nbsp;Senior Attorney, Division of Privacy and Identify Protection, Federal Trade Commission</li> <li>William Karazsia, Assistant General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer, National Student Clearinghouse</li> <li>Ellen Willmott, General Counsel, Susan G. Komen&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Each of these speakers will bring a unique and important perspective about the challenges charities face as they seek to protect their donors and other contacts from unauthorized access to data charities maintain about them. &nbsp;This&nbsp; issue is more than just protecting credit card information when making online gifts but extends to all forms of private information that a charity may handle as a routine part of its interactions with the public and other users.</p> <p>We hope that you may be able to join us on June 12<sup>th</sup>.&nbsp; <a href="https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07easgse0e64ed26a9&amp;oseq=&amp;c=&amp;ch=">Registration is still open</a>.&nbsp; If not, we intend to share some of the highlights of this meeting in a future posting. &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. &nbsp;Visit&nbsp;Give.org&nbsp;or&nbsp;local BBBs&nbsp;to check out any charity before giving. &nbsp;Our recently evaluated charities include: &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1KDG23L">Foundation for Peace</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1cxstav">Pediatric Cancer Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1EVI5uX">Spina Bifida Association of America</a></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/06/wise-giving-wednesday-privacy-and-security-discussion-will-be-part-of-june-12th-charity-conference/; 6/3/2015 3:30:04 PM Nepal Giving Update: GlobalGiving Foundation <p>I know, its not #wisegivingwed,&nbsp; but in light of the situation in Nepal I thought I would share information I received from GlobalGiving Foundation, a BBB Accredited Charity, regarding the assistance it is providing.&nbsp; GlobalGiving is a portal that accepts donations on behalf of charities working on the ground.&nbsp; It has received more than $3 million from donors to support relief projects in the region and its founder and CEO shared the following statement with us: “…on the work being done in Nepal. Here are a bunch of examples (and more coming all the time):</p> <ul> <li>First, here is a map of where about 50% of the money GlobalGiving has sent out so far has gone in Nepal--as you can see we are far afield from Kathmandu where a lot of the efforts are concentrated:&nbsp;<a href="https://globalgiving.shinyapps.io/Nepal/" target="_blank">https://globalgiving.shinyapps.io/Nepal/</a></li> <li>The first report on where the money has gone from our general fund is also available:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/nepal-earthquake-relief-fund/updates/?subid=57809" target="_blank">http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/nepal-earthquake-relief-fund/updates/?subid=57809</a></li> <li>Here is a description of GlobalGiving's general approach&nbsp; to disasters:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/nepal-earthquake-relief-fund/faq/" target="_blank">http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/nepal-earthquake-relief-fund/faq/</a></li> <li>Finally, we are also making a big push to match people who make recurring donations to a disaster stricken area to ensure that there are funds not only for the relief, but for the recovery, reconstruction, and development of the area.</li> </ul> <p><br /> As we get additional updates from Accredited Charities working directly in Nepal, we will continue to share them with you.</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/05/nepal-giving-update-globalgiving-foundation/; 5/28/2015 9:44:46 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: June 12th Conference on Advancing Donor Trust <p><img style="margin: 5px 15px; float: left;" alt="" src="/link/4ed952736875492997411568fbc5358e.aspx" height="228" width="250" />On June 12<sup>th</sup>, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance will be hosting a <a href="http://give.org/advancing-trust-in-the-charitable-sector/?id=324648">charity conference</a> in Washington DC.&nbsp; While we hold a conference each year for BBB Accredited Charities that participate in our charity seal program, this gathering is special. &nbsp;Another organization, the <a href="https://www.icfo.org/welcome-to-icfo/about-us">International Committee of Fundraising Organizations</a> (ICFO) is partnering with us to produce this event.&nbsp; ICFO, is an international association of national charity monitoring organizations. Their members are standards-based charity reporting organizations that report on charities in other countries as we do in the United States. Each year an ICFO member hosts their annual meeting in their home country, this time it is our turn.&nbsp;</p> <p>As a result we are opening up the conference to a wider charity audience and inviting any organization with an interest in charity accountability issues to <a href="https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07easgse0e64ed26a9&amp;oseq=&amp;c=&amp;ch=">register</a> for this one-day event.&nbsp; The <a href="http://give.org/advancing-trust-in-the-charitable-sector/agenda/">agenda</a> will include a discussion of a variety of topics related to trust issues:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>Donor Trust in Charity Data Security &amp; Privacy</li> <li>Cultural Differences that Influence Trust in Charities &amp; Fundraising Strategies</li> <li>Gaining Donor Trust of New Generations</li> <li>Communicating Charity Value and Inspiring Trust&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>In addition, our keynote luncheon speaker, Carrie Martin Munk, the Chief Communications &amp; Marketing Officer, ALS Association, will talk about the Ice Bucket Challenge.&nbsp;</p> <p>We hope charity executives and others interested in the mentioned topics will be able to join us for this gathering.&nbsp; It will be a wonderful opportunity to not only learn from thought leaders on these subjects but also to meet monitoring groups from around the world who face many of the same accountability challenges as the BBB Wise Giving Alliance.&nbsp;</p> <p>With today’s technology, global issues are impacting charitable organizations with greater frequency.&nbsp; Whether it be tragedies such as the devastating earthquake in Nepal or internet privacy and security threats, charitable organizations are recognizing they are part of an ever expanding community that seeks to maintain donor trust and strengthen accountability. &nbsp;</p> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. &nbsp;Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/for-donors/charity-programs-at-local-bbbs/">local BBBs</a>&nbsp;to check out any charity before giving. &nbsp;Our recently evaluated charities include: &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1FgoM15">Bone Marrow Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1dxPawE">Infant Crisis Services</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1J1ruO5">National Kidney Services</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1AtRkHR">Operation Homefront</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1</a><span style="text-decoration: underline;">/</span>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/05/wise-giving-wednesday-june-12th-conference-on-advancing-donor-trust/; 5/27/2015 10:23:55 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: A Breach of Donor Trust <p><img style="float: left; margin: 5px 15px;" alt="" src="/link/4ed952736875492997411568fbc5358e.aspx" height="228" width="250" />Yesterday I had the honor of representing the BBB Wise Giving Alliance <a href="https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/audio-video/video/sham-cancer-charities-press-conference">at a press conference about charity fraud hosted by the Federal Trade Commission and state charity regulators</a>.&nbsp; The <a href="https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2015/05/ftc-all-50-states-dc-charge-four-cancer-charities-bilking-over">unprecedented complaint</a> was brought by the FTC and all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia against four cancer charities engaged in deceptive practices. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>The fact that three of the charities mentioned in the complaint (<a href="http://go.bbb.org/1edwOkE">Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services</a> and <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1PU3BGS">Children’s Cancer Fund of America</a>) chose not to &nbsp;disclose detailed information to BBB WGA after repeated written requests says much about their trustworthiness. &nbsp;Donors coming to our site would have seen a big red exclamation mark giving warning about the lack of transparency of these charities.&nbsp; The fourth charity mentioned in the complaint (<a href="http://go.bbb.org/1c2M6qC">Breast Cancer Society</a>) did provide information and was found to not meet several of the <a href="/link/bf08473b31114ffdb14b01e3dd6bc76f.aspx">BBB Charity Standards</a>, and did not respond to additional questions about their fundraising activities and finances.&nbsp;</p> <p>I characterized the 147 page complaint&nbsp;as chock-full of allegations of deception. &nbsp;</p> <p>One deception involved inflating the value of their in-kind donations (which goes against Generally Accepted Accounting Principles). This enabled the charities to deceive donors into believing more money was going to programs than actually was. &nbsp;</p> <p>The second deception, involving Cancer Support Services, (an entity so closely related to Cancer Fund of America that we included both organizations in the same BBB WGA report), gave donors a false impression of low fundraising at Cancer Fund of America.&nbsp; Cancer Support Services performed fundraising activities on behalf of Cancer Fund of America, which allowed Cancer Fund of America to report lower-than-actual fundraising expenses.&nbsp;</p> <p>The third deception gave donors false impressions of the nature of the charities’ program activities.&nbsp; Appeals referenced services such as hospice care and the shipment of pain medication, oxygen and other life-saving items to cancer patients.&nbsp; The complaint alleges that none of these services were being provided.&nbsp;</p> <p>The final deception dealt with significant failures of governance and management.&nbsp; Each entity’s board included family and compensated members who provided little to no oversight. &nbsp;As a result the public’s trust was violated when the boards failed to provide basic controls such as CEO performance reviews, budget approval, and general financial oversight.&nbsp;</p> <p>What's saddest of all is that this case can have a chilling effect on giving. I hope it won't. As donors, we should not be dissuaded but we should investigate before we do. Let this sad case be a constant reminder.&nbsp;</p> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. &nbsp;Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/for-donors/charity-programs-at-local-bbbs/">local BBBs</a>&nbsp;to check out any charity before giving. &nbsp;Our recently evaluated charities include: &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1EYqT8v">Comic Relief</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1KkzytH">Drug Policy Alliance</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1dl1VdP">Food for the Poor</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1AfuXFO">Progressive Agriculture Foundation&nbsp;</a></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1</a><span style="text-decoration: underline;">/</span>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/05/wise-giving-wednesday-a-breach-of-donor-trust/; 5/20/2015 3:14:48 PM BBB WGA Joins Federal and State Regulators for Major Charity Fraud Announcement <p><span><strong>Arlington, VA</strong> –</span>&nbsp;BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB WGA) joined with the Federal Trade Commission, State Attorneys General, and State Charity Regulators today to help the donating public avoid questionable fund raising circumstances and find trustworthy charities to support. The FTC announced a major action against Cancer Fund of America, Children’s Cancer Fund of America, and Breast Cancer Society.</p> <p>“It is heart-breaking news to learn that many Americans were deceived into contributing by charity bad actors,” said H. Art Taylor, president and CEO of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance (Give.org). “People want to help when they hear about a good cause, but donors need to be aware of potential deceptions, so their hard-earned money can go to charities they can trust.”</p> <p>“We believe that charity financial ratios should not be the sole basis for a giving decision,” notes Taylor, “but today’s government action does show that a charity’s fund raising ratio can be a good initial marker to root out fraud and poor financial management.”</p> <p>The BBB Wise Giving Alliance reports on these charities are available here:&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/1edwOkE">Cancer Fund of America</a>;&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/1PU3BGS">Children’s Cancer Fund of America</a>; and&nbsp;<a href="http://go.bbb.org/1c2M6qC">Breast Cancer Society</a>.</p> <p>BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers the following tips for donors:<br /><br /><br /><strong>TIPS TO AVOID QUESTIONABLE CHARITY REQUESTS</strong></p> <p><span><strong>Be cautious when responding to phone appeals</strong>.</span>&nbsp;Like all forms of fund raising, telephone appeals can be put to good use by a charity, or can be part of a deceptive campaign that can result in little money going to the claimed charitable effort. Never be pressured to make an immediate, on-the-spot contribution decision.</p> <p><strong>Seek out additional facts.</strong>&nbsp;If interested in the charity, ask the caller for the charity’s website address and/or search online on your own to obtain program, financial and other information to make a more informed giving decision.</p> <p><span><strong>Watch out for excessive fund raising expenses</strong>.</span>&nbsp;While most charities have reasonable fund raising expenses (less than 35% of total contributions received in the past year,) if a telephone appeal campaign is not managed well, it can result in excessive fund raising expenses where the charity might receive less than 20% or 10% of collected funds.</p> <p><span><strong>Rely on expert opinion when it comes to evaluating a charity</strong>.</span>&nbsp;The public can go to&nbsp;<a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">Give.org</a>&nbsp;to research charitable organizations to verify their trustworthiness. Charities that meet the 20 “BBB Standards for Charity Accountability” are called BBB Accredited Charities.&nbsp;Additional local charity reviews are available at&nbsp;<a href="/link/5c6878613f374fde9f6464d3e8edc230.aspx">bbb.org</a>.</p> <p>BBB WGA also suggests there are things that charities can do to be as responsible as possible to their donors:<br /><br /><br /><strong>RED FLAGS CHARITIES SHOULD CONSIDER</strong></p> <p><strong>Is the charity spending funds on the activities emphasized in appeals?</strong>&nbsp;If phone and/or written appeals emphasize a specific charity program, the charity’s financial statements and other materials should demonstrate that this is the organization’s largest program activity. If not, donors may feel deceived. To avoid this perception, charity appeals and materials should make it clear which programs receive the largest share of the charity’s expenses.</p> <p><span><strong>Do the charity financial statements show large amounts of in-kind donations?</strong>&nbsp;</span>While many charities are involved with in-kind drives for food, clothing and other items, it is especially important for charities to clearly explain the nature and use of large volumes of in-kind gifts that appear in charity financial statements. Charities should not over-value their in-kind gifts and/or include them in audited financial statements under circumstances that do not follow accounting rules (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.)&nbsp; In-kind donations should not be used as means to make charity program service expenses higher than they would be without them.</p> <p><span><strong>Is the charity’s board of directors providing adequate oversight?</strong>&nbsp;</span>Good charity accountability starts with good governance. If a charity’s board of directors is not engaged in proper oversight of the charity executive staff in terms of reviewing performance, approving budgets, being aware of fund raising arrangements, and establishing appropriate accounting procedures, this can lead to larger potential problems for the organization.<br /><br /><br /><span><strong>ABOUT BBB WISE GIVING ALLIANCE</strong>:&nbsp;</span>BBB Wise Giving Alliance&nbsp;(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, fund raising, appeal accuracy, and other issues. Learn more about the 20 BBB Charity Standards and about local charity review at local Better Business Bureaus at&nbsp;<a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">Give.org</a>.</p> <p><span><strong>ABOUT BBB</strong>:</span>&nbsp;For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2014, people turned to BBB more than 165 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.4 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at&nbsp;<a href="/link/5c6878613f374fde9f6464d3e8edc230.aspx">bbb.org</a>. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 112 local, independent BBBs across North America, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation.&nbsp;</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/05/bbb-wga-joins-federal-and-state-regulators-for-major-charity-fraud-announcement/; 5/19/2015 11:27:38 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Accounting Board Proposes Charity Financial Statement Changes <p><img style="float: left; margin: 5px 15px;" alt="" src="/link/4ed952736875492997411568fbc5358e.aspx" height="228" width="250" />The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is an independent organization that establishes and improves standards for financial accounting for both for-profit and not-for-profit entities in the United States.&nbsp; On April 22, 2015 the FASB <a href="http://www.fasb.org/cs/ContentServer?c=FASBContent_C&amp;pagename=FASB%2FFASBContent_C%2FNewsPage&amp;cid=1176165948973">announced</a> proposed changes for all not-for-profit financial statements. It’s been quite some time since the audited financial statements of charities and other not-for-profits have been the subject of significant proposed changes.&nbsp; Here at the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, we are especially interested in helping nonprofit leaders understand the potential impact of the updates proposed by FASB. BBB WGA has always focused on a charity’s audited financial statements (as opposed to the IRS Form 990) as part of its review.&nbsp; While finances are addressed in just a portion of the 20 BBB Standards for Charitable Accountability, they understandably get a great deal of donor attention. &nbsp;</p> <p>Some of FASB’s proposed changes in the audited financial statements of charities include increased disclosures about financial asset liquidity (i.e., what portion of assets is available now), the sources and uses of a charity’s cash, and donor restrictions on the use of funds. To assist charity executives and others in understanding these changes, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and the Metro New York BBB Education and Research Foundation are jointly offering a no-cost webinar on May 21, 2015 at 1pm EDT.&nbsp; The webinar is generously sponsored by EisnerAmper LLP.&nbsp; The two presenters will be Julie Floch and Candice Meth, both distinguished partners in not-for-profit practice at this well-known, BBB Accredited accounting firm.&nbsp; While the webinar can accommodate up to 1,000 registrants, we encourage interested participants to sign up while there is still room. To learn more about the webinar and register visit: <a href="http://www.go.bbb.org/ny-fasbchanges">www.go.bbb.org/ny-fasbchanges</a>&nbsp;</p> <p>Wise Giving Wednesday readers who are interested in providing FASB comments on their proposed accounting changes will have until August 20, 2015 to send comments to them.&nbsp; For additional details, visit <a href="http://www.fasb.org">fasb.org</a>.&nbsp;&nbsp; Feedback can be provided to FASB directly through an <a href="https://www.fafsurveys.org/se.ashx?s=4CA36E92204EBFDB">electronic response form</a>. &nbsp;</p> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. &nbsp;Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/for-donors/charity-programs-at-local-bbbs/">local BBBs</a>&nbsp;to check out any charity before giving. &nbsp;Our recently evaluated charities include: &nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1ECUvZR">Help the Afghan Children</a>&nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1e1HzGC">Mothers Against Drunk Driving</a>&nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1ECUFQT">Oceana</a>&nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1EEDygK">Soldiers’ Angels</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1</a><span style="text-decoration: underline;">/</span>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/05/wise-giving-wednesday-accounting-board-proposes-charity-financial-statement-changes/; 5/13/2015 12:04:46 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Nepal Disaster Relief, Crowdfunding and Social Media <p><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1KM464Y"><img style="float: left; margin-left: 15px; margin-right: 15px;" alt="" src="/link/4ed952736875492997411568fbc5358e.aspx" height="228" width="250" />Last week’s blog</a> included some comments and advice on donating to different stages of Nepal earthquake relief efforts that will require future support just as much as today. In the past decade, fundraising for disaster relief became one of the first charity activities that demonstrated continuing success with both online and mobile contributions, and now social media as well. Disasters generate immediate public concern that motivate individuals to respond with the urgency such tragedies deserve.&nbsp;</p> <p>Facebook added a Donate Button in conjunction with users’ News Feed which resulted in over $10 million for Nepal relief efforts going to the <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1OYyVUw">International Medical Corps</a>. Here, social media was helping to raise funds for a BBB Accredited Charity with significant experience in emergency response to disasters.&nbsp; Perhaps inspired by this successful effort, BBBs also learned others created questionable requests via Facebook that had nothing to do with established charities. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Crowdfunding also became a player in addressing the desire to send help to Nepal for smaller relief efforts.&nbsp; <a href="http://go.bbb.org/1DdsaY1">GlobalGiving.org</a>, another BBB Accredited Charity, raised $2.3 million towards its goal of $2.5 million for various Nepal relief projects that go through significant vetting by GlobalGiving before posting. But not every crowdfunding experience conducts that type of due diligence.&nbsp;</p> <p>Some of the other crowdfunding sites, such as those run by for-profit firms, enable individuals to post a project for Nepal relief with nothing more than a Paypal and Facebook account for identity verification.&nbsp; A visit to some of these report individuals raising $30,000, $100,000 or more for reported projects such as rebuilding homes, assisting earthquake victims, and other efforts.&nbsp; While most of these are probably well meaning and honest about their appeals, how does one sort out which of these activities are real or will be accomplished?&nbsp; Unfortunately, these types of crowdfunding efforts involve an element of donor risk as well as raise problems with tax deductibility if the recipient is not an established charity that has 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.&nbsp;</p> <p>Social media does present opportunities to help raise funds from a larger audience of potential donors in the wake of a disaster, but &nbsp;con artists and questionable efforts can arise during this surge of popularity. Individual stories of need can be touching and heart wrenching, but that should not be the sole basis on which to make an informed giving decision. Our best recommendation is to seek out trustworthy charities by verifying if charity is BBB Accredited (meets all <a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">20 BBB Charity Standards</a>).&nbsp;</p> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. &nbsp;Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;or <a href="/link/41f51edfda524fbaaa31c3dc4cc68a6d.aspx">local BBBs</a> to check out any charity before giving. &nbsp;Our recently evaluated charities include: &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1KhLoBj">Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1KM4MYb">Soccer Without Borders</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1KM4Wi2">National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1P0AyXd">Trickle Up Program&nbsp;</a></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to <a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a> if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/05/wise-giving-wednesday-nepal-disaster-relief-crowdfunding-and-social-media/; 5/6/2015 10:50:44 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Helping Nepal Earthquake Victims <p><img style="float: left; margin-left: 15px; margin-right: 15px;" alt="" src="/link/4ed952736875492997411568fbc5358e.aspx" height="228" width="250" />Strong earthquakes are frightening, devastating and immediately pull on our heartstrings. Nepal’s earthquake is no exception.&nbsp; BBB Wise Giving Alliance encourages donors to respond but also be mindful of the giving tips in <a href="/link/daf673585d9149b883d694aea6aeafb4.aspx"><em>this link</em>, which also includes a list of BBB Accredited Charitie</a>s (i.e., charities that meet all 20<a href="/link/bf08473b31114ffdb14b01e3dd6bc76f.aspx"> BBB Charity Standards</a>) that are raising funds for various Nepal relief efforts.&nbsp;</p> <p>Media headlines about the Nepal earthquake and other disasters grab our attention.&nbsp; The pictures are wrenching and the stories move us.&nbsp;&nbsp; However, it is important to recognize that disasters are not fully resolved after the initial fund raising frenzy is over. It’s actually a long term effort that will involve different charities at various stages of development:&nbsp; Emergency response, Disaster relief and Recovery.&nbsp;</p> <p>At the <strong>Emergency Response</strong> stage, the focus is on search and rescue, saving lives, and providing immediate medical attention.&nbsp; This stage can last for five to ten days or more as relief workers sift through rubble, seeking trapped individuals, and helping others who were seriously hurt in the quake. This is the stage where the pictures and media cameras show us the horrible tragedy up close and motivate many of us to open our hearts and wallets to assist.&nbsp; Keep in mind that not every Nepal relief charity is engaged in emergency response activities. Visit the charity’s website to find out what their specific activities will be.&nbsp;</p> <p>The <strong>Disaster Relief</strong> stage will involve the first month or more as the surviving population seeks temporary shelter, clothing, food and other essentials.&nbsp; Relief charities often remind donors <strong>not </strong>to send packages of donated clothing and canned goods.&nbsp; Although well intentioned, such efforts can create delivery challenges and other problems. Established charities prefer cash donations so that they can more easily get the items closest to the actual disaster in the quantities and types that are needed.&nbsp;</p> <p>The <strong>Recovery </strong>stage can last for a year or more and will involve rebuilding homes and communities to help restore areas to their previous level of functionality. This takes proper planning and careful coordination with the impacted population. &nbsp;</p> <p>So remember, the relief needs and activities don’t disappear when the headlines do. There are many opportunities to help and charities are counting on donors to think of them throughout the year as Nepal works its way from emergency response to recovery. &nbsp;</p> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. &nbsp;Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;to check out any charity before giving. &nbsp;Our recently evaluated charities include: &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1In1ICe">Crohn’s &amp; Colitis Foundation of America</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1J8tZux">InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1DB5fGx">Livestrong Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1P6eTHQ">SIGN Fracture Care International</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1HQU6rf">WaterAid America</a></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/04/wise-giving-wednesday-helping-nepal-earthquake-victims/; 4/29/2015 8:36:21 AM Nepal Earthquake Donation Tips <div class="WordSection1"> <p><strong>Arlington, VA</strong> – <em>April 27, 2015 </em>– The devastating earthquake in Nepal over the weekend has already touched the hearts of millions of Americans who want to support disaster relief through donations. BBB Wise Giving Alliance advises donors to avoid being taken advantage of by questionable solicitations or wasting their money on poorly managed relief efforts.&nbsp;</p> <p>“The news out of Nepal is horrific and the photos are heart-breaking,” said H. Art Taylor, president and CEO of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. “People want to help as soon as possible, and that is wonderful, but donors need to follow some key rules about supporting disaster relief so that their gifts get to those who need them most.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Across the world, relief and development organizations and governments have begun responding to the earthquake in Nepal.&nbsp; American charities have also begun accepting donations to assist in the region.&nbsp; Before you choose a charity to give to, <a href="http://give.org/for-donors/about-specific-giving-guidance/disaster-relief-donations/">take a look at our tips for giving to this type of cause</a> (below) and remember to check out the charity on <a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">Give.org.</a> The list below includes nationally soliciting charities that have been accredited by BBB WGA (i.e., meet all <a href="/link/bf08473b31114ffdb14b01e3dd6bc76f.aspx">20 BBB Charity Standards</a>) and indicate that they are collecting contributions to assist Nepal relief efforts:</p> </div> <div class="WordSection2"> <ul style="list-style-type: circle;"> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1QAM4H2">ActionAid USA</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1FrwaKT">Adventist Development and Relief Agency International</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1bQqjmU">All Hands Volunteers</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1QAMz3X">American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1DDbLh7">American Jewish World Service</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1zfdSeH">American Red Cross</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1QANiSs">AmeriCares Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1GAnVNR">Brother's Brother Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1bLdtpP">CARE USA</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1QANS2B">Catholic Relief Services</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1Du2StW">ChildFund International</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1JBDcz0">Christian Blind Mission International</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1HOywFe">Church World Service</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1bwbUvi">Concern Worldwide US</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1Gpebkn">Direct Relief</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1ENWwaV">Episcopal Relief and Development</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1OyPVn2">Global Impact</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1DdsaY1">GlobalGiving Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1EdV26p">Habitat for Humanity International</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1GtfEpJ">Heart to Heart International</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1DTCqp7">Heifer Project International</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1GpgZhf">HOPE worldwide</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1JKD0tV">Humane Society International</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1OYyVUw">International Medical Corps</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1KnZqlI">Islamic Relief USA</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1zfkOIQ">Lutheran World Relief</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1Gphx6S">MAP International</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1QAVrqf">Medical Teams International</a></li> <li><a title="MCC" href="http://go.bbb.org/1GWZ8RF">Mennonite Central Committee (MCC)</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1OYzvl5">Mercy Corps</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1GygQuq">Operation USA</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1DDh2VO">Oxfam America</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1z6aTF1">Plan International USA</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1OvQjF9">Project Concern International</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1QAVOku">Salvation Army (National Corporation)</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1Gyhg3V">Save the Children Federation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1DQ3VQl">Seva Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1P6eTHQ">SIGN Fracture Care International</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1OYAjqn">SOS Children's Villages-USA</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1Ik7c0Mhttp://go.bbb.org/1Ik7c0M">Unitarian Universalist Service Committee</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1bwg7zb">United States Fund for UNICEF</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1dpfusm">WaterAid America</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1EdXNog">World Food Program USA</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1bwgoC0">World Neighbors</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1QAWDde">World Relief</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1GAu5O3">World Renew</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1GpiR9Q">World Vision</a></li> </ul> </div> <p><strong>BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers donors these tips for disaster relief giving:&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;" data-mce-mark="1">Be cautious when giving online.</span>&nbsp; </strong>Be cautious about spam messages and emails that claim to link to a relief organization. If you want to give to a charity involved in relief efforts, go directly to the charity’s website.&nbsp; In response to Katrina and Haiti earthquake , the FBI and others raised concerns about websites and new organizations that were created overnight, allegedly to help victims.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;" data-mce-mark="1">Rely on expert opinion when it comes to evaluating a charity.</span>&nbsp;</strong> Be cautious when relying on third-party recommendations such as bloggers or other websites, as they may not have fully researched the relief organizations they list. The public can go to&nbsp;<span style="text-decoration: underline;" data-mce-mark="1"><a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">www.give.org</a></span>&nbsp;to research relief organizations and other charities to verify that they are accredited by the BBB which means they meet the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability. &nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;" data-mce-mark="1">Be wary of claims that 100 percent of donations will assist relief victims.</span>&nbsp;</strong> Despite what an organization might claim, charities have fund raising and administrative costs. Even a credit card donation will involve, at a minimum, a processing fee. If a charity claims 100 percent of collected funds will be assisting earthquake victims, the truth is that the organization is still probably incurring fund raising and administrative expenses.&nbsp; It may use some of its other funds to pay these costs, but the expenses will still be incurred.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;" data-mce-mark="1">Find out if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the impacted areas.</span></strong>&nbsp; Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to bring in new aid workers to provide assistance quickly.&nbsp; See if the charity’s website clearly describes what the charity can do to address immediate needs.&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;" data-mce-mark="1"><strong>Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups.</strong></span>&nbsp; Some charities may be raising money to pass along to relief organizations.&nbsp; If so, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and giving directly to those that have a presence in the region. Or, at a minimum, check out the ultimate recipients of these donations to see whether they are equipped to provide aid effectively.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;" data-mce-mark="1">Gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations</span><span style="text-decoration: underline;" data-mce-mark="1">.</span></strong>&nbsp; In-kind drives for food and clothing, while well intentioned, may not necessarily be the quickest way to help those in need – unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid properly. Ask the charity about its transportation and distribution plans. Be wary of those who are not experienced in disaster relief assistance.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>ABOUT BBB WISE GIVING ALLIANCE</strong><b>: </b>BBB Wise Giving Alliance&nbsp;(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, fund raising, appeal accuracy, and other issues. Learn more about the 20 BBB Charity Standards and about local charity review at local Better Business Bureaus at&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>MEDIA CONTACTS:</strong> For more information, journalists should contact Katherine Hutt at&nbsp;<a href="mailto:khutt@council.bbb.org">khutt@council.bbb.org</a>&nbsp;or Bennett Weiner at&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bweiner@council.bbb.org">bweiner@council.bbb.org</a>.</p> <p>Donors interested in giving via text message can give to the following organizations, who participate with the Mobile Giving Foundation:</p> <p>US Fund for UNICEF - text NEPAL to 864233 to make a $10 donation<br />Save the Children - text NEPAL to 20222 to make a $10 donation<br />World Vision - text NEPAL to 777444 to make a $10 donation</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/04/nepal-earthquake-donation-tips/; 4/27/2015 12:20:36 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: The Value of Standards <p><img style="float: left; margin: 5px 15px;" alt="" src="/link/4ed952736875492997411568fbc5358e.aspx" height="228" width="250" />We are all indeed “entitled to our opinions” as the popular phrase goes but all speech is not created equal.&nbsp; For example, saying something is trusted can be meaningless if context is not provided.&nbsp;</p> <p>What I see as <i>trustworthy</i> may be very different than what others see. In regards to an individual contemplating a donation, some degree of trust in the charity is required. But if trust is subjective, based on our feelings or loosely defined criteria, it is possible our trust could be misplaced and we might inadvertently support charities that are not meeting our expectations.</p> <p>Trustworthiness needs an objective framework to make it a useful concept.&nbsp; This is where standards prove valuable because they bring objectivity to subjective concepts. The <i><a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></i> have a clearly intended objective – to determine a charity’s trustworthiness.&nbsp;They were developed for that purpose.</p> <p>They represent what we see as the minimum acceptable behaviors for a charity soliciting the public. The BBB Charity Standards were developed in an open process with advice from knowledgeable experts, donors and the charities now subjected to them. They cover four essential areas we believe are necessary for determining trustworthiness:</p> <ul class="small_subhead"> <li><strong>adequate board oversight,</strong></li> <li><strong>results that correspond with a charity’s mission,</strong></li> <li><strong>financial accountability, and</strong></li> <li><strong>transparent and accurate donor communications</strong>.</li> </ul> <p>Trustworthiness will always be a matter of opinion but I hope our standards make our point of view clear.</p> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. &nbsp;Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;to check out any charity before giving. &nbsp;Our recently evaluated charities include: &nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1JubAbn">Farm Aid</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1DdsaY1">GlobalGiving Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1DNsv7L">Grand Canyon Trust</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1biSh9R">Waterkeeper Alliance</a></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/04/wise-giving-wednesday-the-value-of-standards/; 4/22/2015 9:47:47 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Building Trust Part 9 <p><img style="float: left; margin: 5px 15px;" alt="" src="/link/4ed952736875492997411568fbc5358e.aspx" height="228" width="250" />For many charities, especially the nationally soliciting charities evaluated by BBB Wise Giving Alliance, the future may belong to the Internet, but direct mail fundraising is still king. &nbsp;While online giving and social media made significant strides in raising charity dollars in the philanthropic marketplace, recent statistics show that online giving accounted for just 6.4% of overall fundraising revenue in 2013, excluding grants (Blackbaud’s <a href="https://www.blackbaud.com/files/resources/downloads/2014/2013.CharitableGivingReport.pdf">Charitable Giving Report</a>).&nbsp;</p> <p>I raise this to build on my previous blog about our donor privacy standard (BBB WGA Standard 18). The focus here is on direct mail fundraising and how charities acquire names and addresses of people to send mail.&nbsp;&nbsp;The majority of the nationally soliciting charities evaluated by BBB WGA state that they do not rent, exchange or share their donor mailing lists with others. If so, this provision does not apply to them.&nbsp; For the rest, BBB WGA Standard 18 asks charities to periodically provide a means (such as a check-off box) for both new and continuing direct mail donors to inform the charity that they do not want their name and address shared outside the organization.&nbsp; This is what those in the privacy world call the “Opt Out” option. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Paper is derived from trees, but mailing lists don’t grow on them, they have to be developed somewhere.&nbsp; So, if a charity is seeking to acquire <strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">new</span> </strong>donors by renting lists for one-time use from a variety of outside sources, those names and addresses do <strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">not</span> </strong>belong to the charity until they become a donor.&nbsp; As a result, unless the mail recipient makes a donation, the charity can’t promise them anything about what will happen to their information. &nbsp;Hence, the reason for not requiring this “opt out” provision to be in every charity mailing sent.&nbsp; &nbsp;But, at a minimum, every single current donor must be provided the opt-out option at least annually to meet Standard 18. Of course it's preferable that this occur in all mailings to previous donors.&nbsp;</p> <p>It's possible for charities to adopt more restrictive donor mailing list policies.&nbsp; For brand new or smaller charities seeking to build a donor base, however, renting donor mailing lists may be their only way to get direct mail donors. &nbsp;If donor mailing lists were not available, they would need to find&nbsp;alternatives (an animal welfare charity might use a list comprised of pet product purchasers) that could result in fewer donors than a mailing list of animal charity contributors of other groups.&nbsp;</p> <p>The bottom line is that mailing lists, when properly used, can serve as the oxygen that help charity fundraising work. &nbsp;Without them, many charities would have difficulty starting, growing or raising funds.&nbsp; BBB WGA strongly believes in the importance of donor privacy protections, and Standard 18 continues to address donor concerns without impacting the ability of charities to raise funds using the mail, which continues to be the main fundraising method for charities evaluated by BBB WGA.&nbsp;</p> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. &nbsp;Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;to check out any charity before giving. &nbsp;Our recently evaluated charities include: &nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1CuQdBy">Warm Blankets Children's Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1yuRWvX">Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1N4taJo">American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1IoDHfe">Compassionate Friends</a></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/04/wise-giving-wednesday-building-trust-part-9/; 4/15/2015 8:27:36 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Building Trust Part 8 <p><img style="float: left; margin-left: 15px; margin-right: 15px;" alt="" src="/link/4ed952736875492997411568fbc5358e.aspx" height="228" width="250" />A story posted on April 7<sup>th</sup> by <i><a href="https://philanthropy.com/article/Cybersecurity-for-Charities-/229095">The Chronicle of Philanthropy</a></i> highlights the importance of cybersecurity for charities. For obvious reasons, donors want to make online donations without fear of their credit card numbers being accessed by hackers. Many charity websites don’t just confine visitor interactions to contributions, they also may invite people to email questions or request assistance related to the organization’s mission.&nbsp; So, privacy and security is more than a donation safety issue, it is about the potential theft of all types of charity data. &nbsp;</p> <p>The latest issue of the <a href="http://give.org/globalassets/wga/wise-giving-guides/spring-2015-guide-article.pdf">Wise Giving Guide</a>, also addresses cybersecurity. We take a look at the various types of attacks charities encounter, from data breaches to social media and phishing.&nbsp; We also discuss how charities can protect themselves from these attacks, maintaining a higher standard of donor trust.&nbsp; Finally, we offer advice on how donors can be proactive in avoiding security pitfalls both with their own computer and mobile devices and in their online activities.</p> <p>Standard 18 of our <a href="http://give.org/for-charities/How-We-Accredit-Charities/">Standards for Charity Accountability</a> addresses the issue of donor privacy in two ways.&nbsp;One part of this standard calls for charity websites to have a posted privacy policy that covers at least four points:</p> <ul> <li>What data is being collected and how it will be used;</li> <li>How to contact the charity t review your data and request corrections;</li> <li>If applicable, how to inform the charity one does not want this data shared with others; and</li> <li>What security measures the charity has to protect personal information.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Charities need to be making sure they are protecting themselves, their stakeholders, and their donors from cybercrime.&nbsp; In next week’s edition of #WiseGivingWed, BBB WGA will address another aspect of donor privacy: mailing lists.&nbsp;</p> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. &nbsp;Visit&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>&nbsp;to check out any charity before giving. &nbsp;Our recently evaluated charities include: &nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1HMVDNc">Southeastern Guide Dogs</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1PgOgTv">Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1CRA2BS">Heartbeat International</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1c4FeK3">Mennonite Central Committee</a></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/04/wise-giving-wednesday-building-trust-part-8/; 4/8/2015 9:36:06 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Relating Ethical Guidelines to Empower Professional Fundraisers <p><img style="float: left; margin: 5px 15px; border: 1px solid black;" alt="" src="/link/4ed952736875492997411568fbc5358e.aspx" height="228" width="250" />This week the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) held its annual conference in Baltimore, Maryland. Throngs of people attended mainly to beef up their fundraising prowess. Knowing that people would rather count raindrops than attend a session on ethics, I was pleased with the level of member engagement during two sessions where I was a presenter on the topic.&nbsp;</p> <p>One session dealt specifically with the AFP Code of Ethics.&nbsp; The second covered the relationships between the <i><a href="http://www.afpnet.org/files/ContentDocuments/CodeofEthics.pdf">AFP Code of Ethics</a></i>, the recently updated Independent Sector <i><a href="https://www.independentsector.org/principles">Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice</a></i> and the <i><a href="http://give.org/for-charities/How-We-Accredit-Charities/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></i>. During each session the presenters’ role was to share ethical guidelines and then facilitate a discussion using cases to raise dilemmas and, when possible, bring clarity.&nbsp;&nbsp; I was impressed by the thoughtfulness of the participants and their commitment to ethical behavior for their own good and the betterment of the fundraising profession. &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>It’s great that the people most closely connected to charity donors seek to operate ethically but as these sessions went on, it became apparent that fundraisers need support from others within their organizations.&nbsp; Several members told of frustrating circumstances where they were challenged to get coworkers and volunteers to see the advantages of operating within the <i>AFP Code</i>.&nbsp;&nbsp; We identified strategies for building supportive networks in and outside of the organization and educating coworkers about the <i>Code </i>and its importance before issues arise.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Independent Sector <i>Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice</i> and the <i>BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</i> also support the efforts of well-meaning fundraisers because these tools extend beyond the fundraising profession and also address other aspects of the organization. Charities that use the IS <i>Principles</i> as a framework for discussions about transparency, good governance, financial management and solicitations should be better positioned to ensure ethical fundraising practices. Organizations accredited by the BBB WGA demonstrate through rigorous evaluation that they have been truthful in their public communications, they have strong operational and financial oversight and they are striving to achieve their goals. These charities will also make it easier for a fundraising professional to operate within the <i>AFP Code</i>.&nbsp;</p> <p>For those interested in seeing how the Code, Principles and Standards are complimentary, here is a link to a chart that compares the three models:&nbsp; <a href="https://twitter.com/wisegiving/status/582710628634214400/photo/1">https://twitter.com/wisegiving/status/582710628634214400/photo/1</a>&nbsp; The pressure on organizations to raise revenue for mission based work is ever present.&nbsp; The charitable sector must use all it has at its disposal to make it easier for fundraisers to do their jobs the right way.&nbsp;</p> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. &nbsp;Visit <a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">Give.org</a> to check out any charity before giving. &nbsp;Our recently evaluated charities include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1ImG3rw">Aga Khan Foundation USA</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1G54xIg">Baby Buggy</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1G54xIg">Catholic Legal Immigration Network</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1Du2StW">ChildFund International</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1F2tPRS">Fistula Foundation</a></li> </ul> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. &nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/04/wise-giving-wednesdayrelating-ethical-guidelines-to-empower-professional-fundraisers/; 4/1/2015 9:46:56 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Charity Concerts & Contributions <p><img style="margin: 15px; border: 1px solid black; float: left;" alt="" src="/link/4ed952736875492997411568fbc5358e.aspx" height="228" width="250" />With the arrival of spring my thoughts fast forward to warmer weather and a break with cabin fever.&nbsp; I think of all the yard work to be done but the fun times too that attach to being outdoors.&nbsp; I have promised myself that this year I will attend more outdoor concerts. Many towns have music festivals that draw popular acts and large crowds over many days. These events provide entertainment but also stimulate local economies.&nbsp; Some also provide a benefit to charity. Almost 30 years ago, perhaps the mother of all fundraising concerts took place in my home town.</p> <p>Live Aid was a charity benefit concert that was actually held in 2 venues – the now demolished JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, PA and Webley Stadium in London.&nbsp; I still remember the buzz the event created around town.&nbsp; While I was not able to attend the event in person, I did drive near enough to the stadium to hear the music and 100,000 cheering fans.&nbsp; Live Aid was also broadcast so those of us who could not go were able to watch on TV. An estimated 1.9 billion of us from 150 countries did.&nbsp; The concert’s 58 acts graciously took no fees and raised $283 million for famine relief. <a href="/link/92034f4cb87740e6af5f2fc50a1e9cf8.aspx" target="_blank">We take a closer look at charity concerts here</a>.</p> <p>Today benefit concerts are more commonplace, charities hope not only to raise funds but to increase awareness of their causes.&nbsp; It also seems new challenges arise for charities orchestrating these events.&nbsp; For example, a concert held in 2012 to benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy raised $30 million. It could have taken in more if not for ticket scalpers who acquired large blocks of tickets and then sold them for many times more than they purchased them. Floor seats at Madison Square Garden were reportedly scalped for tens of thousands of dollars. Can you believe the nerve of some people? After learning this we came up with a list of things for people to consider when participating in a benefit concert. Here is a sample:</p> <ol> <li>Check out the benefit concert charities. Do they meet BBB Charity Standards? Visit <a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">Give.org</a></li> <li>Will gifts be restricted to a specific disaster or event? Don’t assume unless specified.</li> <li>Do the charity sponsors have the skills and experience to carry out the promised charitable activities?</li> <li>Don’t assume merchandise sold at the concert (e.g. t-shirts, etc.) will benefit the participating charities unless they are authorized and specify otherwise.</li> <li>Watch out for ticket scalpers. Inflated ticket prices they charge will not provide more benefit to the sponsored charity.</li> </ol> <p>Hit me up on Twitter @wisegiving with some of your favorite benefit concert stories. Use #wisegivingwed to let others know, too.</p> <p>We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. &nbsp;Visit <a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">Give.org</a> to check out any charity before giving. &nbsp;Our recently evaluated charities include:</p> <p><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1Bmto3v">Goodwill Industries International</a>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1CpEVD8">Prader-Willi Syndrome Association</a>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1BmtIzv">Susan G. Komen for the Cure</a>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1COFWVZ">World Resources Institute</a>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1HEunU9">Zonta International Foundation</a>&nbsp;</p> <p>Finally, remember to let us know by going to&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a>&nbsp;if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/03/wise-giving-wednesday-charity-concerts-contributions/; 3/25/2015 9:10:26 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Building Trust Part 7 <p><img style="float: left; margin: 15px; border: 1px solid black;" alt="" src="/link/4ed952736875492997411568fbc5358e.aspx" height="228" width="250" /></p> <p>In the United States, consumers are a force to be reckoned with.&nbsp; Companies compete every day to catch your attention and become the next brand of cereal, laundry detergent or automobile that you buy.&nbsp; Given a growing public interest in corporate responsibility and giving back, it’s no surprise that businesses sometimes build donor relationships with charities.&nbsp; These relationships not only characterize a brand as charitable, but can also help drive sales.&nbsp; If a shopper is choosing between two nearly identical items, and one of them has the added benefit of donating 25 cents per item to charity, it may sway the consumer’s decision.&nbsp;</p> <p>Standard 19 of the <a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a> addresses these situations, called <i>cause-related marketing</i>, where a donation is tied to the purchase of goods or services.&nbsp; We look for these types of promotions to disclose, at the point of solicitation the actual or anticipated portion of the purchase price that will benefit the charity (e.g., 5 cents will be contributed to ABC Charity for every XYZ Company product sold).&nbsp; In addition, the following should also be included in the disclosure if applicable to the specific circumstance: the duration of the campaign (e.g., the month of October), and any maximum or guaranteed minimum contribution amount (e.g., up to a maximum of $200,000).&nbsp;</p> <p>It’s easy to see how charities can feel pressure from some corporate partners to disclose as little as possible. They may not want consumers or other charities to know the particulars of the arrangement. While the individual amounts from each transaction can seem insignificant to a consumer, small change can add up to big bucks for charity. This is why campaigns often disclose the expected cumulative amount the charity will receive. &nbsp;Also, because these relationships are in some ways based on the power of a charity’s brand, a company, such as a bank that offers affinity credit cards that give charities a donation with each consumer transaction, may offer different terms to different charities.&nbsp;</p> <p>As a result, it is unfortunately all too common that we see promotions include vague language such as “a portion of proceeds” or “10% of all profits.”&nbsp; Such promotions would not meet our Standard since consumers have no way of determining what amount will be going to the charity if they purchase the item.&nbsp; We instead encourage charities to work with companies to use clear language such as “50 cents for every box” or “10% of the purchase price.”&nbsp;</p> <p>It is projected that cause marketing campaigns will generate approximately <a href="http://www.causemarketingforum.com/site/c.bkLUKcOTLkK4E/b.6412299/apps/s/content.asp?ct=8965443">$1.92 billion</a> for charitable causes in 2015.&nbsp; We of course recommend that consumers check out any charity they consider supporting. &nbsp;So the next time you are at your local grocery store and see an item giving to a charity you aren’t familiar with, see if the recommended BBB WGA disclosure is made at the point of purchase and visit <a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">www.give.org</a> on your phone or other mobile device and verify whether the charity is accredited and meets our 20 Charity Standards.&nbsp;</p> <p>In last week's blog, we began a new feature that listed national charity reports recently completed by BBB WGA. &nbsp;Here are some others that have been posted on our website:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1LXFb2J">Americans United for Life</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1LXFpH1">Children, Incorporated</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1OyPVn2">Global Impact</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1xyDX7F">IntraHealth International</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1HDZdbT">Lupus Foundation of America</a></li> </ul> <p>Finally, let us know by going to <a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a> if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/03/wise-giving-wednesday-building-trust-part-7/; 3/18/2015 8:22:00 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Building Trust Part 6 <p><img style="float: left; margin: 5px 15px;" alt="Art Taylor" src="/link/4ed952736875492997411568fbc5358e.aspx" height="228" width="250" />On Monday I was honored to share our standards with business executives attending the Association of Corporate Contributions Professionals Annual Conference.&nbsp; It was great working with executives charged with charitable investing for their corporations. The ones in my session seemed highly committed to supporting trustworthy charities. In assembling my presentation, I was reminded that the standard failed by the most charities is #16, which calls for the production of an annual report so I thought I would write about it.<b>&nbsp;</b></p> <p>The key tenets of the <a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">BBB Charity Standards</a> are transparency and accountability.&nbsp; These two principles, when considered together, offer donors a more complete picture of a charity’s operations.&nbsp; Previous #WiseGivingWednesday blogs have focused on the concept of accountability, which involves the inner workings of the board of directors and the charity staff.&nbsp; Transparency, on the other hand, is the charity’s outward-facing image. &nbsp;</p> <p>Providing the public with descriptive and financial information is an important part of building trust.&nbsp; Standard 16 of the <a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a> calls for charities to produce a printed annual report that includes (a) the charity’s mission, (b) a summary of the year’s program accomplishments, (c) a roster of board members, and (d) financial information for the year including total income, total expenses broken out by programs, fundraising and administration, and ending net assets.&nbsp;</p> <p>While the IRS requires most of this information in its annual Form 990 filing, which is available to the public, BBB WGA’s annual report standard is designed to provide a more narrative and accessible document that will help the average donor without requiring them to navigate a tax form.&nbsp;</p> <p>Addressing this issue is not a difficult matter as BBB WGA does not require that the annual report to be a glossy, professionally printed document.&nbsp; It could be a simple word-processed document or a web page with the information that can be printed out and mailed to donors upon request. &nbsp;</p> <p>Annual reports are by far the simplest way for charities to maintain a measure of transparency with the donating public.&nbsp; In fact, an annual report may benefit a charity by acting as a valuable marketing opportunity to help tell their story and motivate support.&nbsp;</p> <p>Take a look to see if your favorite charities meet this important standard. For an A-Z directory of reports on nationally-soliciting charities, visit <a>www.give.org/charity-reviews/national/</a>. &nbsp;To access both local and national charity reports, use the search engine on our homepage <a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">www.give.org</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>To keep you up to date, starting today, we are adding a feature to our #WiseGivingWednesday blog. Each post will list some of our most recently completed reports on national charities that seek to verify the trustworthiness of these organizations. Here is the first group:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1BmNOcF">National Eating Disorders Association</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1BmNOcF">Optimist International Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1CY8zS8">Resources for Human Development</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/1LXGAX6">Share Our Strength</a></li> <li><a href="http://go.bbb.org/19l56z7">U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants</a></li> </ul> <p>Finally, let us know by going to <a href="/link/f50d010e9a654dcdbe9af3eccc240171.aspx">https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/</a> if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/wise-giving-wednesday-building-trust-part-6/; 3/11/2015 11:02:49 AM Independent Sector's Revised Nonprofit Principles & Executive Compensation <p>I applaud&nbsp;and appreciate the work of nonprofit organizations that recognize the important role that standards play in ensuring charities are well managed and trustworthy.&nbsp; It is in this shared spirit that I participated in an event on Capitol Hill last week to hail the release of Independent Sector’s revised&nbsp;<a href="https://www.independentsector.org/principles"><i>Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practices</i></a>. I am especially pleased that the <i>Principles</i> are very much in line with the <a href="http://give.org/for-charities/How-We-Accredit-Charities/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a>, that we use in our charity evaluations. Congratulations go to Independent Sector’s President &amp; CEO, Diana Aviv, and the staff at IS, as well as the Task Force, of which I was a proud member, that worked on the revision project.</p> <p>During the event, several panel members spoke about different sections of the <i>Principles</i>. I was asked to comment on executive compensation, an issue that frequently places charities in the crosshairs of critical media stories. I started my remarks by recounting a conversation I had nearly 30 years ago with my dear mother informing her that I had taken a position with a charity. Her question to me was priceless: “no one gets paid in a charity, how are you going to make a living?”&nbsp;</p> <p>Her question points out one of the major challenges charities have when determining what to pay their staff.&nbsp; While some very small charities have an all volunteer staff, many others do have paid employees. In fact, charities can be quite large, complex and are striving to solve, as Phil Buchannan of the Committee for Effective Philanthropy <a href="http://www.effectivephilanthropy.org/a-moral-imperative/">wrote</a>: “the very ones [problems] that have defied market-based or government solutions.” &nbsp;</p> <p>I believe one reason Dan Pallotta’ s <a href="http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pallotta_the_way_we_think_about_charity_is_dead_wrong?language=en">TED Talk</a> generated more than 3.4 million views is that he says boldly and unabashedly that in order to accomplish great results charities need talented, skillful, dedicated and experienced staff who need and deserve to be adequately paid. Yet when it comes to staff compensation, charities can’t seem to catch a break.&nbsp;Every charity with paid employees can be vulnerable to criticism especially during those rare times when a case of excessive charity compensation comes to light.&nbsp;</p> <p>Independent Sector <i>Principle</i> <i>13</i> calls for “the full board to evaluate and thoroughly understand (beyond just approving) the compensation of the CEO annually.” External bench marks such as salary surveys can help charity governing boards demonstrate good judgment when determining compensation levels for their executive and other staff.&nbsp;</p> <p>It is unlikely charities will ever be free of this conundrum but by exercising sound processes, using data and encouraging boards to take control, we can feel confident about staff compensation decisions. &nbsp;In this regard, the Independent Sector <i>Principles</i> are a big help.</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/independent-sectors-revised-nonprofit-principles-executive-compensation/; 3/4/2015 11:13:06 AM Can Charity Watchdogs Assess a Charity's Effectiveness or Impact? <p>In the wake of the <a href="http://overheadmyth.com/">Overhead Myth</a> campaign which urged donors to recognize that charity financial ratios should not be used as the <i>sole</i> basis for making contribution decisions, some have encouraged charity watchdogs (and I hate that label) to formulate a universal measure of effectiveness that focuses on a charity’s results or impact.&nbsp; I have several concerns about this recommendation.&nbsp;</p> <p>Due to the wide diversity of charity missions ranging from curing diseases to promoting religious beliefs and from helping the needy to saving the environment, it is unlikely that any <i>single</i> metric will be able to capture the effectiveness of all charity activities in a fair and objective manner. &nbsp;</p> <p>Even if such a metric was proposed, it would be vulnerable to exploitation by some charities that will manipulate the impact metric just as some organizations manipulate financial reporting to show larger than actual program expenditures. For example, if the metric was based on accomplishing goals, a charity could set theirs knowing they are easy to accomplish.&nbsp; Also, focusing on an impact metric could discourage risk taking to solve problems out of fear that a promising but untested activity might not achieve its objective.&nbsp;</p> <p>In my view, the most a charity monitoring group could do is to recommend potential content for an effectiveness assessment and verify if a charity produced a corresponding results report. But that verification would not measure a charity’s impact, it will just be identifying the process the organization used to gather its information and report its results.&nbsp;</p> <p>Finally, while BBB WGA supports the idea of making charity impact reports publicly available (<a href="http://give.org/globalassets/wga/wise-giving-guides/summer-2011-guide-article.pdf">see the 2011 Wise Giving Guide cover story on Charting Impact project</a>), I anticipate many will focus on the positive results just as a typical charity annual report does today.&nbsp; This is one of the main reasons that <a href="/link/59a9c0fd30004efd85b7094074c85374.aspx">BBB Charity Standards 6 and 7</a> focus on producing such reports for the charity’s board of directors so there will be greater openness about both positive and negative results as well as recommended course corrections.&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/02/can-charity-watchdogs-assess-a-charitys-effectiveness-or-impact/; 2/25/2015 1:03:42 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: The Military Service Initiative Summit <p>Today, Bennett Weiner, COO of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, is in Dallas, Texas to participate in the Military Service Initiative Summit which is a one-day conference being held by The Bush Institute at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.&nbsp; They are about 350 guests from various veterans organizations as well as corporate executives, major donors and others concerned about how they can better serve veterans and active duty service members through the growing number of charitable programs that exist today.</p> <p>Should there be more collaboration among the 45,000 existing veterans and military service organizations?&nbsp; Can impact measurement provide a means to identify those groups that are achieving some success?&nbsp; How can the wide range of existing programs ranging from health needs to job skills training avoid duplication of effort while carrying out their important work?&nbsp; These and similar issues will be discussed at the conference. &nbsp;</p> <p>There are no any easy answers to these questions but it is helpful that they are being asked. As leaders in the nonprofit sector and the military community consider these challenges, I hope they also remember the important role that trust plays in helping donors make contribution decisions and in enabling veterans to seek out the help they need to transition to civilian life.</p> <p>There will always be an incentive to become more effective in the work that is carried out by organizations that assist veterans and active service members. Charities want to make a difference.&nbsp; But in seeking out these objectives, BBB WGA also believes that our BBB Standards for Charity Accountability can play a role in helping to ensure that organizations are transparent, well governed, manage finances appropriately, and are mindful to be accurate and honest in their fundraising and communications.</p> <p><span>Take a look at BBB charity reports to see if your charity of choice meets this important standard. &nbsp;For an A-Z directory of reports on nationally-soliciting charities, visit&nbsp;</span><a>www.give.org/charity-reviews/national/</a><span>. &nbsp;&nbsp;To access both local and national charity reports, use the search engine on our homepage&nbsp;</span><a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">www.give.org</a><span>.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/02/military-service-initiative-summit/; 2/18/2015 11:49:21 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Building Trust Part 5 <p>In recent years, there has been increased attention on measuring the effectiveness of a charity’s activities. What progress has the charity made towards its stated goals? How well has it addressed its mission? These and similar questions are part of a growing movement that seeks to improve performance and demonstrate the value charitable organizations produce for society.&nbsp;</p> <p>Twelve years ago, BBB WGA was the first charity monitoring organization in the nation to include effectiveness reporting as part of the collection of voluntary activities necessary for trustworthiness. Standards 6 and 7 in the <a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a> call for a charity to take two specific actions:&nbsp;</p> <p>a) The governing board of a charity must approve a policy that commits the organization to conducting a review every two years and based on the findings determine what future actions are necessary to improve its effectiveness.&nbsp; Why a board policy? As charity leadership and staff frequently change, this standard seeks to help the organization continue to conduct these assessments periodically no matter who’s in charge.&nbsp; The two year requirement is intended to encourage the charity to timely identify necessary course corrections.</p> <p>b) The organization shall provide its governing body with a written effectiveness or results report that summarizes the charity’s performance and identifies future actions and recommended improvements.&nbsp;</p> <p>This standard requires the board to receive the effectiveness report but is silent on whether the report should be made available to the public.&nbsp; We believe these assessments can serve as a valuable board tool to make sure the charity is on the right track. A report to the governing board about the charity’s effectiveness would more likely include a candid analysis (about lessons learned as well as achievements) than a public document. The temptation to water down findings to make the charity appealing to media, funders and competitors is stronger when the report is for all eyes to see.</p> <p>Although not required to meet BBB Charity Standards, we strongly encourage charities to make effectiveness reports available to the public. In addition, due to the variety of charity missions and causes and the different views on how to best accomplish such effectiveness assessments, we do not require any one specific evaluation method or report format.&nbsp;</p> <p>In order to help charities with such assessments and to encourage a common framework that can be adapted to many organizations, several years ago BBB WGA participated in a strategic alliance with Independent Sector and GuideStar USA to develop a charity effectiveness report titled “Charting Impact.”&nbsp; This is a series of five questions that are intended to help charities consider and communicate their progress toward impact. Currently, the Charting Impact tool is housed on GuideStar USA's website:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.guidestar.org/rxg/update-nonprofit-report/charting-impact.aspx">http://www.guidestar.org/rxg/update-nonprofit-report/charting-impact.aspx</a>&nbsp; A charity that uses the Charting Impact format would generally meet BBB WGA's Standard 7 as long as this report was shared with its board of directors.</p> <p>As with all the BBB Charity Standards, BBB WGA encourages donors not to rely on just any one standard or issue in making a giving decision, but consider it as part of the full accountability picture provided by the 20 standards. Charity effectiveness reporting is important but in our view is just one of several practices that demonstrate trustworthiness. The need for adequate board oversight, good financial management, transparency, accurate appeals and respect for donor privacy are equally important.</p> <p>In an upcoming blog we will take a deeper dive into the challenges of effectiveness reporting but we hope this overview provides a better understanding of how BBB WGA addresses charity impact in our standards.</p> <p>Take a look at BBB charity reports to see if your charity of choice meets this important standard. &nbsp;For an A-Z directory of reports on nationally-soliciting charities, visit <a>www.give.org/charity-reviews/national/</a>. &nbsp;&nbsp;To access both local and national charity reports, use the search engine on our homepage <a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">www.give.org</a>.</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/02/wise-giving-wednesday-building-trust-part-5/; 2/11/2015 10:45:12 AM Wise Giving Wednesday: Building Trust Part 4 <p>For most publicly-soliciting charities, three words they hope to never hear are “conflict of interest.” When donors place their trust in a charity, they expect the charity’s mission, not personal financial gain, to be the motivation for leadership decisions made by the board of directors and paid staff.&nbsp; In some ways, this is one of the core distinctions between a for-profit business and a not-for-profit organization. So when this expectation is violated, contributors may feel betrayed or deceived. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>This is why the fifth standard in the <a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a> calls for no transaction(s) in which any board or staff members have <b><i>material</i> </b>conflicting interests with the charity resulting from any relationship or business affiliation. &nbsp;This standard is intended to cover related-party transactions ranging from significant charity purchases of goods or services, grants and donations to board-member affiliated charities and loans made to board or staff members.&nbsp;</p> <p>This does not mean that any related party transaction results in the charity not meeting our standard. This is where a review of the individual fact circumstances becomes important as no two transactions are exactly alike.&nbsp; These factors include, but are not limited to, the amount of the transaction, whether the interested board member participated in the board vote on this purchase, if competitive bids were taken and whether this was a one-time or ongoing transaction.&nbsp;</p> <p>So, what are some examples of transactions that raise red-flags of potential conflicting interests?&nbsp; Here are some that would raise concerns:</p> <ul> <li>A charity board member is a principle in a fund raising company that the charity has contracted for the past ten years.</li> <li>A charity makes a significant financial loan to an executive staff member so he can make major renovations on his home.</li> <li>The grants approval committee of the charity’s governing board has decided that almost all of its grants will go to board member affiliated charities.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>While most charities have a board conflict of interest policy, the mere existence of such a policy does not automatically resolve problems with this standard. The BBB WGA will ask the charity what steps were taken to ensure that a related-party transaction is not a conflict.&nbsp; In some instances, however, the transaction may be so significant that it raises concerns with this standard even if measures are taken.&nbsp;</p> <p>This previous point also brings to mind that even if a charity can demonstrate that a related-party transaction is not a conflict, the public perception of such insider transactions are likely to be negative.&nbsp; This is why some charities avoid even the appearance of a potential conflict by not transacting with any board or staff member affiliated businesses or organizations.&nbsp;</p> <p>Take a look at BBB charity reports to see if your charity of choice meets this important standard. &nbsp;For an A-Z directory of reports on nationally-soliciting charities, visit <a>www.give.org/charity-reviews/national/</a>. &nbsp;&nbsp;To access both local and national charity reports, use the search engine on our homepage <a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">www.give.org</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/02/wise-giving-wednesday-building-trust-part-4/; 2/4/2015 12:00:16 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Building Trust Part 3 <p>For the board of directors to properly guide a publicly-soliciting charity, provide oversight and assist in the decision-making process, its voting members should be focused on advancing the charity’s mission and avoid any influence that may cloud their judgment.</p> <p>That is why the fourth standard in the <a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a> has recommended limits on the number of voting board members who receive compensation – may it be monetary or nonmonetary, direct or indirect (for purposes of this standard, board member reimbursement for travel expenses to attend board meetings is not considered compensation).</p> <p>An example of a directly-compensated board member would be a paid charity staff member (such as the CEO) who also serves as a voting member of the board.&nbsp; An indirectly-compensated board member circumstance would take place if a voting member of the board was the spouse, sibling, parent or child of a paid staff member.</p> <p>To meet Standard 4, not more than one or 10% (whichever is greater) of the total voting membership of the board should be directly or indirectly compensated. Also, if a board member receives compensation, that person should not serve as the chair or treasurer. For example, if a charity has seven board members, no more than one voting member should be compensated. If a charity has 20 board members, no more than two voting board members should be compensated.</p> <p>Publicly-soliciting churches and other houses of worship with compensated clergy serving on their board of directors should see additional details in the <a href="http://give.org/for-charities/How-We-Accredit-Charities/">online explanation</a> for this standard for further information on how this standard applies to them.</p> <p>By ensuring that voting board members are free of financial interest, the board is better positioned to exercise independent judgment.</p> <p>Take a look at BBB charity reports to see if your charity of choice meets this important standard. &nbsp;For an A-Z directory of reports on nationally-soliciting charities, visit <a href="/link/6de9897c2d424957b59b576f71b6ee8d.aspx">www.give.org/charity-reviews/national/</a>. &nbsp;&nbsp;To access both local and national charity reports, use the search engine on our homepage <a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">www.give.org</a>.</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/01/wise-giving-wednesday-building-trust-part-3/; 1/28/2015 2:26:40 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Building Trust Part 2 <p>The board of directors is pivotal in providing guidance and oversight to a charity and ensuring it is fulfilling its mission. Holding regular meetings to review and discuss important organization decisions, such as budgets, program updates and fundraising efforts,&nbsp; is a process that increases the likelihood that this guidance occurs. That is why – in order to be a BBB Accredited Charity (i.e., meeting all 20 standards) – the third standard in the <a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a> addresses this issue.&nbsp; We ask a charity to bring together its board of directors at least three times a year with at least 50% average attendance for the meetings held.&nbsp;</p> <p>The buck stops with the governing board — and in some the ways the board serves as the “stand-in” for donors by ensuring that the organization is appropriately carrying out its announced mission in the best way possible. &nbsp;This can’t be done without regularly scheduled meetings throughout the year. &nbsp;</p> <p>We believe that face-to-face participation is key to carrying out proper oversight responsibilities, however, a telephone conference can substitute for one of those three meetings as long as official business is conducted and minutes are taken. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;On occasion, for some charities, conflicting schedules and geographical barriers may create challenges to holding in-person meetings with the desired frequency.&nbsp; For example, a charity focused on international issues may have board members located in other countries.&nbsp; In such cases, videoconferences can count as face-to-face meetings as long as video participants can see each other during the meeting.&nbsp;</p> <p>This evidence of engaged and involved decision-makers is a fundamental verification of effective governance.&nbsp; A charity can have a board roster that includes some of the most impressive and respected individuals known but unless that leadership is brought together on a regular basis, the roster of governing board members serves as <i>letterhead leadership</i> that provides a false sense of security for donors.&nbsp;</p> <p>Take a look at our&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/charity-reviews/national/">national charity reports&nbsp;</a>to see if your charity of choice meets this important standard.&nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br /> BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/01/wise-giving-wednesday-building-trust-part-2/; 1/21/2015 12:01:21 PM Wise Giving Wednesday: Building Trust Part 1 <p>The BBB Wise Giving Alliance standards are based on the idea that identifying trustworthy charities &nbsp;depends on much more than how much money they raise or spend. Behind-the-scenes operations are important in ensuring a charity is well-run. That’s why one section of the <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="http://give.org/for-donors/the-care-we-put-into-our-reports/">BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</a></span> closely looks at the board of directors and its practices. Our standards are designed to ensure that a charity’s board is structured so that it can provide proper governance and oversight of the administration, fundraising and programs of a charity.</p> <p>Poor governance and oversight often point to problems in other areas, which is why you can be sure that charities that meet these standards (i.e., BBB Accredited Charities) are likely to be well-run. BBB Charity Standard #1 calls for an active and involved governing board that provides critical oversight of the charity’s operations and staff. For example, the board is responsible for reviewing the CEO’s performance, receiving the financial statements and approving budgets, approving a conflict of interest policy and reviewing adherence, and ensuring all fundraising agreements are clearly understood and monitored. In a future blog, we will also discuss the board’s role in receiving periodic reports on how well the charity is progressing toward program goals, outcomes and impact.</p> <p>It is also essential that the board is structured appropriately, and BBB Charity Standard #2 requires that a charity has at least five voting members. Five is not an ideal number but indicates the <i>minimum</i> acceptable number of voting members to help avoid a concentration of power and encourage a diversity of opinion, skill and talent.&nbsp; This also is a good example that demonstrates a running theme in our standards.&nbsp; They are not intended to identify the most ideal circumstances that only a select few can strive to reach, but practical ethical goalposts that charities of all sizes can achieve in carrying out their work.</p> <p>When you see a BBB Accredited Charity you can be sure that the organization has active and involved leaders who are working to ensure that it furthers its stated mission.&nbsp; Take a look at our <a href="http://give.org/charity-reviews/national/"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">national charity reports</span></a>&nbsp;to see if your charity of choice meets these important standards.</p> <p>H. Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2015/01/wise-giving-wednesday-building-trust-part-1/; 1/14/2015 12:24:10 PM BBB WGA's CEO Blogs About #GivingTuesday on Huffington Post <p>BBB WGA's CEO, Art Taylor, shares his personal experience with charity and encourages everyone to give wisely this #GivingTuesday in <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a title="Huffington Post Blog" href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/h-art-taylor/giving-back-giving-wisely_b_6227996.html?1417036082">a guest blog on Huffington Post</a></span></p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2014/12/bbb-wgas-ceo-blogs-about-givingtuesday-on-huffington-post/; 12/1/2014 8:16:04 AM 5 BBB Tips to Ensure Great Giving on #GivingTuesday <p><strong>Arlington, VA </strong>(<i>November 25, 2014</i>) – #GivingTuesday, the National Day of Giving, kicks off the holiday giving season on December 2<sup>nd</sup>, following Black Friday and Cyber Monday.&nbsp; Before donating to a charity this season, it is wise to carefully review a charity and ensure it is a trustworthy organization.&nbsp; <a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">BBB Wise Giving Alliance</a> (BBB WGA) along with Better Business Bureaus across North America, is sharing five tips to help donors give with confidence.&nbsp;</p> <p>“Our main objective is to help donors find charities they can trust,” remarks H. Art Taylor, president and CEO, BBB WGA. “We believe our rigorous reviews help verify trust before you donate.”</p> <p>BBB WGA recommends these tips to give wisely, on #GivingTuesday and any day of the year:</p> <ol start="1"> <li><strong>Watch out for copycats.</strong> There may be hundreds of charities seeking support in the same category, and some may have similar sounding names. Don’t fall for a case of mistaken identity.</li> <li><strong>Consider the whole picture, not just finances.</strong><b>&nbsp; </b>While financial ratios help in identifying cases of financial abuse, it’s a mistake to use them as the sole basis for making a giving decision. A good ratio does not necessarily mean a charity is well managed, honest in its appeals, transparent about its activities, and effective in achieving its mission.</li> <li><strong>Avoid being pressured.</strong> Don’t succumb to pressure to make an on-the-spot giving decision. Responsible organizations will welcome your gift tomorrow just as much as today.</li> <li><strong>Keep emotions in check.</strong> Donors need to be mindful that con artists will often strike when emotions are running high. Always take a moment to verify that your selected charity operates ethically.&nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Rely on rigorous evaluations. </strong>Charities can demonstrate they are trustworthy by undergoing a rigorous evaluation based on holistic standards such as the 20 <i>BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</i>. Get free access to BBB Charity Reports at <a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">Give.org</a>.</li> </ol> <p style="text-align: center;">###&nbsp;</p> <p><b>ABOUT BBB WISE GIVING ALLIANCE</b></p> <p>BBB Wise Giving Alliance&nbsp;(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, fund raising, appeal accuracy, and other issues. Learn more about the 20 BBB Charity Standards and about local charity review at local Better Business Bureaus at&nbsp;<a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">Give.org</a></p> <p>MEDIA CONTACTS: For more information, journalists should contact Katherine Hutt at 703-247-9345 or <a href="mailto:khutt@council.bbb.org">khutt@council.bbb.org</a> or Bennett Weiner at 703-247-9323 or <a href="mailto:bweiner@council.bbb.org">bweiner@council.bbb.org</a>.</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2014/11/5-bbb-tips-to-ensure-great-giving-on-givingtuesday/; 11/25/2014 12:51:55 PM New Study: Americans Misinformed Before Donating to Charities <p style="text-align: center;"><img title="Infographic" alt="Infographic" src="/link/03da72c5473940749b74d44c1de46b06.aspx" height="631" width="600" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Arlington, VA – October 28, 2014 – New data on how Americans donate to charities pinpoints a lack of donor understanding and the need for simple tools to help donors give wisely.&nbsp; The study reveals that Americans consider finances to be the most important indicator of trust, which is a misguided review of a nonprofit organization according to the BBB Wise Giving Alliance.</p> <p>Americans would verify their trust in a charity by looking at:</p> <ul> <li>46 percent said finances;</li> <li>20 percent cite ethics;</li> <li>14 percent use name recognition of the charity; and</li> <li>11 percent said results.</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;In fact, no single measure can signal if a charity is trustworthy or not. Judging a charity by its overhead ratio or impact as sole barometers cannot accurately portray the overall performance and health of an organization. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;“Donors using only one piece of information may have a false sense of confidence,” comments Art Taylor, president and CEO of BBB Wise Giving Alliance. “It is best to holistically review a charity before donating.&nbsp; That can seem like a large undertaking, but the BBB Wise Giving Alliance standards make it easy for donors to ensure they are giving their time and money to a trustworthy charity.”&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;The most important action a donor can take before donating is to check the trustworthiness of the charity.&nbsp; BBB Wise Giving Alliance evaluates&nbsp;charitable organizations on 20 holistic standards covering governance, effectiveness reporting, finances, appeal accuracy and other issues to assist donors in making informed giving decisions.</p> <p>&nbsp;“At Give.org, we have done the work for donors with our rigorous evaluations,” adds Taylor.&nbsp; “Just look up a charity and quickly see if it is BBB accredited. In one easy step you will know if the charity is trustworthy.” &nbsp;</p> <p><span>ABOUT BBB WISE GIVING ALLIANCE<br /></span><a href="http://give.org/">BBB Wise Giving Alliance</a>&nbsp;(BBB WGA) 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. In support of this mission, local Better Business Bureaus report on regionally-soliciting charities. There is no charge to charities for the evaluation, and resulting reports are available at&nbsp;<a href="http://give.org/">Give.org</a>.</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2014/10/new-study-americans-misinformed-before-donating-to-charities/; 10/28/2014 7:18:56 AM Charities Urged to Crush Overhead Myth and Take Actions Toward an Overhead Solution <p>Washington, DC – October 21, 2014 – As Americans donate generously this holiday season, the three CEOs of the leading information sources on nonprofits – GuideStar, Charity Navigator and BBB Wise Giving Alliance – issued a joint letter urging charities to help crush the false notion that overhead ratios serve as the sole basis for trusting a charity and to help move toward an Overhead Solution by demonstrating ethical practices, managing towards results and educating funders.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Overhead Myth campaign is a continuing collaboration among the three major nonprofit information providers which distributed a joint letter last year to the donors of America denouncing the overhead ratio as a primary measure of charity performance.&nbsp; This year’s open letter published on <a href="http://www.overheadmyth.com/">www.overheadmyth.com</a> is addressed to nonprofit organizations – and asks for their help in moving toward an Overhead Solution by:</p> <p style="margin-left: 30px;">1)&nbsp;&nbsp; Demonstrating ethical practice and sharing data about performance by informing donors about their goals, strategies, management and governance.</p> <p style="margin-left: 30px;">2)&nbsp;&nbsp; Managing toward results by using performance-based management systems and understanding the true costs of achieving their mission.</p> <p style="margin-left: 30px;">3)&nbsp;&nbsp; Educating donors, especially in fundraising materials, about how they accomplish their charity work and not spotlighting financial ratios as a major way to confirm trust.</p> <p>“Based on the overwhelming response to our first letter to the donors of America, we know that the nonprofit sector is hungry to dispel the Overhead Myth,” said Jacob Harold, President and CEO of GuideStar. “Our second letter, addressed directly to nonprofits, builds on that momentum by providing actionable steps so nonprofit leaders can focus on meaningful and measurable results rather than misleading, simplistic overhead ratios.”</p> <p>The open letter and supporting materials and resources offered at overheadmyth.com is under a Creative Commons license and nonprofit organizations are encouraged to print it for free and use it how they wish.</p> <p>“For many years BBB Wise Giving Alliance has encouraged donors to verify their trust in charities by considering the full picture of an organization’s performance and not just financial ratios,” said Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO, BBB Wise Giving Alliance, “We also believe that charities have a responsibility to steer donors towards a better understanding of their activities and accomplishments and look forward to helping them share that message.”</p> <p>“Our campaign to end the Overhead Myth and move toward an Overhead Solution will become a dead end if we don’t encourage, engage, empower and inspire the nonprofit sector to change course and begin to become more results focused,” said Ken Berger, President &amp; CEO of Charity Navigator. “Everyone involved in the sector must join together to do whatever it takes to become adaptive and learning organizations that build the capacity to manage and measure toward better results and to then share that information with the donors of America”</p> <p>To learn more about the Overhead Myth campaign and get involved, please visit <a href="http://www.overheadmyth.com/">www.overheadmyth.com</a>. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p class="NoSpacing1"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">About BBB Wise Giving Alliance</span></strong></p> <p><a href="http://give.org/">BBB Wise Giving Alliance</a> (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, fund raising, appeal accuracy, and other issues. Learn more about the 20 BBB Charity Standards and about local charity review at local Better Business Bureaus at <a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">Give.org</a>.</p> <p class="NoSpacing1"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>About Charity Navigator</strong></span></p> <p>Charity Navigator, <a href="http://www.charitynavigator.org/" target="_blank">www.charitynavigator.org</a>, a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization itself, works to guide intelligent giving. The organization does this by evaluating dozens of metrics that assess the Financial Health and Accountability &amp; Transparency of 8,000 charities. By guiding intelligent giving, the organization aims to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace, in which givers and the charities they support work in tandem to overcome our nation’s and the world’s most persistent challenges.</p> <p class="NoSpacing1"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">About GuideStar</span></strong></p> <p>GuideStar, <a href="http://www.guidestar.org/">www.guidestar.org</a>, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that connects people and organizations with information on the programs, finances, and impact of more than 1.8&nbsp;million IRS-recognized nonprofits. GuideStar serves a wide audience inside and outside the nonprofit sector, including individual donors, nonprofit leaders, grantmakers, government officials, academic researchers, and the media.</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2014/10/charities-urged-to-crush-overhead-myth-and-take-actions-toward-an-overhead-solution/; 10/21/2014 8:06:47 AM BBB Warns About Ebola Scams and Schemes <p><b>Arlington, VA</b> &nbsp;– <a href="/link/5c6878613f374fde9f6464d3e8edc230.aspx">Better Business Bureau</a> is warning consumers about a variety of Ebola-related scams and problematic fundraisers that have emerged recently. BBB Wise Giving Alliance is working with BBB Serving Dallas and Northeast Texas, where the first victim died and two nurses became infected; BBB Serving Greater Cleveland, where one of the nurses traveled before getting sick; and several other local BBBs to investigate some of the Ebola-related efforts.</p> <p>A fundraising page on GoFundMe was created on Wednesday to raise donations for Amber Joy Vinson, the nurse who traveled from Dallas to Cleveland and is currently being treated in Atlanta for Ebola. The site may have been the work of a well-intentioned individual, but members of Vinson’s family tell BBB they did not authorize the effort. Although that page has since been shut down, there are more than 100 GoFundMe pages raising money for various Ebola campaigns.</p> <p>Several BBBs have also reported on phone solicitation from an organization supposedly raising money to help with Ebola.&nbsp;When pressed, the caller says he is from a famous charity’s chapter in the Bronx, New York. BBB Metro New York confirmed that no such branch exists and that the solicitation is likely a scam.</p> <p>BBB warns donors to carefully research any charitable efforts - especially those that surface following an event that gains media attention. &nbsp;</p> <p>Tips* on funding requests appearing on crowdfunding sites:</p> <ul> <li>See if the crowdfunding request is from a charity. If so, check out the organization at give.org, the charity reporting arm of the BBB.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Give to individuals you know. It is safest to give to those individuals you personally know who are contacting you to support their specific crowdfunding project.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Crowdfunding projects that share updates provide greater transparency. Updates from a project's organizers help to ensure they're being honest about the uses of raised money.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Don't assume your donation or gift is tax deductible. If you are funding a project run by an individual instead of a charity, the funding you provide may not be deductible as a charitable gift for federal income tax purposes.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Read the fine print. There could be credit card fees and administrative costs associated with donating on a crowdfunding site.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Specialized crowdfunding sites (for example, a site that focuses on relief projects in other countries) may be more adept. A site that allows any type of crowdfunding may result in more challenging oversight hurdles.</li> </ul> <p>Tips* on telephone fundraising appeals:</p> <ul> <li>Resist pressure to make an on-the-spot donation decision.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Never give your credit card number or other personal financial information to unknown callers.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>If interested ask the charity to identify its full name and website address so you can see if there is a BBB report on give.org</li> </ul> <p>For additional assistance on charitable giving issues, visit the BBB Wise Giving Alliance website at give.org.</p> <p><em>*Tips updated 10/17/14 to include additional information.</em></p> <p><strong>About BBB Wise Giving Alliance</strong><br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance produces reports on more than 1,300 nationally soliciting charitable organizations, and local Better Business Bureaus report on another 10,000 local and regional charities. BBB Wise Giving Alliance is a standards-based charity evaluator that seeks to verify the trustworthiness of charities by completing rigorous evaluations based on 20 holistic standards that address charity governance, effectiveness reporting, finances, fund raising, appeal accuracy, and other issues. There is no charge to charities for the evaluation, and the resulting reports are accessible to the public at give.org.</p> <p><strong>About BBB</strong><br />For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2013, people turned to BBB more than 132 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 4.5 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 112 local, independent BBBs across North America, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation.</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2014/10/bbb-warns-about-ebola-scams-and-schemes/; 10/16/2014 3:59:52 PM Ethical Lessons for Philanthropy from Baseball <p>Twenty-five years ago, on August 23, 1989, the Commissioner of baseball decided that Cincinnati Reds baseball player Pete Rose would receive a lifetime ban as a result of gambling on the game.&nbsp; It was a sad day for Rose and an even sadder one for baseball.&nbsp; Rose, also known by his nickname Charlie Hustle, still holds the all time record amassing 4,192 hits and helped to win almost 2,000 games. His achievements, under normal circumstances, would be recognized in the Baseball Hall of Fame.&nbsp; After all this time, however, Rose’s career continues to be marred by scandal.&nbsp; To the powers in baseball and many fans, ethics and integrity mattered more than results.&nbsp; It is a lesson that baseball is still trying to learn as it has dealt with many other controversies since then.&nbsp;</p> <p>As I read various news accounts of this anniversary, I thought that the Pete Rose story also provided a valuable lesson for philanthropy.&nbsp; A growing interest in demonstrating charity impact — what results a charity has achieved in addressing its mission — is getting increasing attention.&nbsp;&nbsp; Organizations, consultants and other analysts are working hard to develop metrics that will provide statistics that intend to show whether charities are making an identifiable difference in addressing society’s problems.&nbsp; I’ve heard some people say that results are the only thing that should matter when donors make a giving decision.</p> <p>Rose reminds us, however, that winning results aren’t everything – far from it! If you operate under an ethical cloud, it can haunt your image for many years to come and potentially tarnish respect for the profession you represent.&nbsp; If philanthropy solely focuses on charity impact and neglects the importance of maintaining trust, it won’t have learned from Charlie Hustle.&nbsp;</p> <p>We at&nbsp; the BBB Wise Giving Alliance &nbsp;recognize the significance of impact and encourage charities to regularly assess their performance, but <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="/link/bf08473b31114ffdb14b01e3dd6bc76f.aspx">our standards</a></span> also call for strong oversight by the charity’s governing board, honest appeals, and transparent disclosures on charity websites, among other things.&nbsp; We hope that charities will be able to demonstrate their winning statistics but also recognize that earning trustworthiness by adhering to accepted ethical practices is important as well. &nbsp;</p> <p>H. Art Taylor<br />President &amp; CEO<br />BBB Wise Giving Alliance</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2014/08/ethical-lessons-for-philanthropy-from-baseball/; 8/27/2014 12:23:12 PM Lessons Learned from NY Settlement with Fundraisers and Veterans Org <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Following Accountability Standards Could Have Prevented</strong><br /><strong>Disabled Veterans National Foundation Problems&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><em><strong>Statement from Art Taylor, President &amp; CEO, BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB WGA) with regard to the $25 Million settlement with the New York State Attorney General's Office and Disabled Veterans National Foundation (DVNF) , and vendor firms* that ran DVNF's direct mail marketing campaigns.&nbsp;</strong></em></p> <p><strong>The Assurance of Discontinuance announced by the New York State Office of the Attorney General specified, in part, the following monetary relief: The vendor firms hired by DVNF (Quadriga Entities*) shall pay restitution to DVNF totaling $13.8 million which consists of a forgiveness of debt. In addition, the specified vendors shall pay damages totaling $9.7 million to compensate for amounts that could have gone to help disabled veterans. One of the vendors shall pay damages of $300,000 and Quadriga Entities shall pay $800,000 to defray the expenses of the Office of the Attorney General</strong></p> <p>BBB &nbsp;WGA believes that Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman's July 1, 2014 announcement helps demonstrate three things: 1) Americans give generously to those in need, 2) fundraising vendors and charities who distribute misleading appeals will not only face financial risk but also damage donor trust, and 3) following established charity accountability standards could help charities avoid such catastrophes.</p> <p><em><strong>We hope this settlement will be a wake-up call for charity boards, staff and fundraising firms to ensure that they are considering the impact of their fundraising activities on their most precious and generous stakeholder – the American donor.</strong></em></p> <p>One of the key findings of the New York Attorney General was that "None of the Founding Directors [of DVNF] had any experience with direct mail campaigns or large-scale fundraising prior to forming DVNF." New or smaller charities can be especially vulnerable when a potential fundraising vendor promises to provide a national fundraising campaign without any "up front" costs being required for the charity. Leaders of such charities could particularly benefit by following widely-accepted guidelines for good nonprofit management practices.</p> <p>BBB Wise Giving Alliance <em>Standards for Charity Accountability</em> offer such guidelines – 20 standards to help charities manage themselves more successfully, with integrity and transparency. The standards call for accuracy and truthfulness in fundraising solicitations, provide details about how to exercise good governance, and offer specifics about how to achieve accountability in operations. In particular, four of these standards could have helped DVNF avoid the problems found by the New York Attorney General:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>&nbsp;<strong>Board Oversight</strong>. Standard 1 calls for charity boards to exercise adequate oversight over the charity's operations and staff. The New York Attorney General's Office found that the DVNF board was not adequately informed by the fundraising firms about the financial arrangements with the vendors and provided little oversight of accounting matters, the content of appeals, and the operation of its gifts-in-kind program.</li> <li><strong>Material Conflicts of Interest</strong>. Standard 5 states that a charity should not conduct transaction(s) in which any board or staff member have material conflicting interests with the charity resulting from any relationship or business affiliation. The Attorney General found that DVNF hired the daughter of the fundraising firm's commissioned sales agent as DVNF's chief administrative officer. While the Attorney General also found that DVNF was unaware that the employee's father was receiving commissions, this circumstance demonstrates the importance of ensuring arm's length transactions when hiring vendor firms.</li> <li><strong>Reasonable Fundraising Costs.</strong> Standard 9 seeks to ensure that total fund raising costs were not high (i.e., not exceeding 35%) when compared to the contributions raised in the past fiscal year. In other words, a charity should spend no more than 35 cents to raise a dollar. An overwhelming majority of charities we evaluate meet this standard. New York's Attorney General found that "over 90% of the charitable funds donated to DVNF [since its inception] were used to cover the organization's direct mail expenses..." Fundraising is a necessary activity of a charitable organization. This is why we were co-signers of a letter to donors entitled: <a href="http://www.overheadmyth.com" target="_blank">The Overhead Myth</a>. In that letter we advise donors to consider many factors when making a donation rather than simply relying on the percentage of money a charity spends on overhead. However, it is essential that fundraising costs be reasonable if a charity expects to maintain the trust of donors who do not expect disproportionate amounts of their contributions will be spent on fundraising.</li> <li><strong>Truth and Accuracy in Fundraising Solicitations</strong>. Standard 15 concerns solicitations and informational materials. It states that appeals distributed by any means should be accurate, truthful and not misleading, both in whole and in part. This standard is unique to the BBB Wise Giving Alliance among other major charity evaluators. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of accuracy in fundraising appeals conducted through any channel, including direct mail, websites, telemarketing and social media. Direct mail appeals, for many donors, are the only information they consider before contributing. This is all the more reason they should include a clear, accurate explanation of the charity's programs and should not mislead in any way. Although the solicitation letters drafted and mailed by the vendors "variously contained numerous misleading statements concerning DVNF itself, the individuals helped by DVNF, and the impact of a donor's contribution in advancing DVNF's mission," the Attorney General further found that "Among other things, some or all of the [DVNF] Founding Members failed to ask for or review... each of the fundraising appeals sent out in DVNF's name...."</li> </ul> <p>As part of the Assurance of Discontinuance with the State of New York, without admitting to any violation of law, the cited parties agreed to carry out certain actions. DVNF agreed to enact a number of changes, including but not limited to, appointing a new board of directors, establishing an audit committee, ceasing to make misleading statements in appeals about its activities, and replacing its fundraising vendors and henceforth will only select vendors after a competitive bidding process. Among other things, the cited marketing firms agreed to disclose more information on financial risks to "start up" charities that employ their services, confirm the accuracy of direct mail copy, and make certain appeal disclosures to potential donors. These are positive developments for the fundraising profession and it is our hope that other firms will take such measures.</p> <p>DVNF noted that they had hired a new Chief Executive Officer several months prior to the settlement and said major programmatic and governance reforms were already underway at the organization.</p> <p><em>* NOTE: There were six marketing firms named in the Assurance of Discontinuance (No. 14-145) with the State of New York: RBS International Direct Marketing, Quadriga Art, Brick Mill Studios, PEP Direct, PEP Response Systems, and Convergence Direct Marketing. The settlement collectively referred to them as "Quadriga Entities." Convergence Direct Marketing is not owned by Quadriga and is an independent company. The Quadriga Entities agreed to the Assurance of Discontinuance without admitting any violation of law. They also agreed to implement new procedures (Protocol for Implementation) when dealing with future circumstances similar to those that caused the identified concerns.</em></p> <p>BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB WGA) evaluates national charitable organizations that solicit funds from the public. The BBB WGA does not rate or rank charities but provides comprehensive information on charity governance and oversight, effectiveness, finances, and fund raising appeals, to assist donors in making informed giving decisions. There is no charge to charities or donors for BBB evaluations, and the reports are regularly updated and available to the public at <a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">www.give.org.</a></p> <p>Regional Better Business Bureaus prepare reports on locally soliciting charities using the same standards.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2014/08/ny-state-settlement-with-fundraisers-and-veterans-org-provides-a-lesson-for-charities/; 8/6/2014 8:51:35 AM Welcome to the New Give.org <p><img style="float: left; margin: 15px;" src="/link/4ed952736875492997411568fbc5358e.aspx" alt="" width="250" height="228" /></p> <p>The BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB WGA) is proud to launch the new version of its&nbsp;<a href="/link/c29f62ba73b346bcb23e2bab201b2837.aspx">Give.org</a>&nbsp;website.&nbsp; Although our main audience continues to be the donating public, we have expanded our content and added features that are designed to also help soliciting charities as well.</p> <p>As always, the distinguishing feature is our&nbsp;<strong>standards-based approach</strong>&nbsp;to charity evaluation.&nbsp; Despite what you may hear, we do&nbsp;<span data-mce-mark="1">not</span>&nbsp;rate, rank or measure charities. Rather, it’s all about accountability and&nbsp;<strong>trust:</strong>&nbsp;does the organization meet the 20 BBB Charity Standards.&nbsp; Research has shown that most donors already have a charity in mind and are seeking assurance that their choice will carry out its stated objective(s).</p> <p>Here are some of the highlights:</p> <p><strong><a href="/link/1048978347794f48a610f345539468ad.aspx">Charity report search</a></strong>&nbsp;is center stage. Our standards-based evaluative reports on charities received over 5.3 million views in 2013.&nbsp; The report search function is now center stage on the homepage.&nbsp; BBB WGA and applicable BBBs cumulatively produce over&nbsp;<strong>11,000 reports</strong>&nbsp;on nationally and locally soliciting charities.</p> <p><strong><a href="/link/79c259a7356641b4b625c43c66587f23.aspx">Easy access</a></strong>&nbsp;to descriptions of the&nbsp;<strong>20&nbsp;<em>BBB Standards for Charity Accountability</em></strong>:&nbsp; a new version that explains&nbsp;<a href="/link/bf08473b31114ffdb14b01e3dd6bc76f.aspx">to donors</a>&nbsp;the meaning and rationale for each standard and continuing access to a more detailed implementation guide&nbsp;<a href="/link/59a9c0fd30004efd85b7094074c85374.aspx">for charities&nbsp;</a>that identifies how we apply each standard.</p> <p><strong><a href="/link/41f51edfda524fbaaa31c3dc4cc68a6d.aspx">Which BBBs are doing charity review?</a></strong>&nbsp;While the BBB Wise Giving Alliance reports on nationally-soliciting charities, about half of the 112 Better Business Bureaus conduct reviews on regionally soliciting charities. Now donors can also access a page that identifies which BBBs provide this service along with a link to the charity reporting page on their respective web sites.</p> <p>Please let us know your thoughts about our website (<a href="mailto:give@council.bbb.org">give@council.bbb.org</a>) and your suggestions on how we can better serve you.</p> <p>H. Art Taylor<br />President &amp; CEO</p> http://www.give.org/news-updates/news/2014/07/welcome-to-the-new-giveorg/; 7/9/2014 12:23:31 PM