BBB’s Study: Appeal Accuracy and Protection of Donor Information are Top Public Priorities

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calendar icon Jul 01, 2024

BBB’s Study: Appeal Accuracy and Protection of Donor Information are Top Public Priorities

Arlington, VA (July 1, 2024) – New research by BBB’s shows that, while what people value most from charity monitoring organizations is assessment of charity spending, review of accuracy in appeals and protection of donor information are now similarly top-of-mind. In particular, when asked to consider the importance of 7 different accountability elements, survey participants said it is “very important” for independent charity monitors to review: how the charity spends its money (75.9%); whether the charity’s appeals are truthful, accurate, and not misleading (73.4%); and whether the charity adequately protects donor information (60.7%). BBB’s, the standards-based, charity-evaluation group released today the Donor Trust Special Report: Public Eye on Charity Accountability. The report, a survey of more than 2,100 adults in the United States and more than 1,000 adults in Canada, explores public positions and expectations related to a selection of charity accountability themes, including oversight, charity finances, impact, solicitation materials, artificial intelligence, and data security. “In an age of distrust, misinformation, and data vulnerability, our survey shows that truthful and accurate communication, and adequate protection of donor information, are top public priorities.” said H. Art Taylor, President and CEO of BBB’s, “As charities start embracing Artificial Intelligence, our survey shows that many would have a skeptical (35%) or negative (17%) reaction to the use of AI in solicitation material. BBB’s wants to keep an eye on emerging charity accountability priorities from the public.”

Other report highlights include:

  • When comparing financial criteria, participants report they are most confident to give: when a charity accurately reports expenses (54.6%), when the charity spends the majority of expenses on programs (53.5%), and when the charity has a budget plan (45.7%).
  • 7When it comes to impact, respondents say that both immediate and long-term results are important, but more respondents said long-term results are highly important (46.0%) than said the same for immediate results (23.9%).
  • When cause related marketing language is ambiguous, younger participants are most likely to assume the charitable contribution associated with their purchase will be high. For example, when presented with the statements “Your purchase of this product helps XYZ charity,” 18.1% of Millennials estimated “a lot” of the purchase price would go to the charity, as compared to only 3.8% of Matures.
  • When asked to imagine charity appeals including AI-generated images, the majority (54.5%) of participants say they would be discouraged from giving if they knew the appeal was not verified for accuracy by a staff member. Participants with a household income of $200,000 or more are most likely (70.3%) to be discouraged from giving.
  • When asked to imagine that a charity they personally support appears in the news for being hacked and having data stolen, 22.5% say they would no longer donate, and another 51.7% say would hold off on donating until they are satisfied that the issue is resolved.

For a free copy of the report, go to

BBB’s urges donors to give thoughtfully by taking the time to investigate charities before making a donation and to visit to verify if a charity meets the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.

ABOUT BBB WISE GIVING ALLIANCE: BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB’s 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 BBB’s and local charity reports are produced by local Better Business Bureaus – all reports are available at

ABOUT BBB: The Better Business Bureau has empowered people to find businesses, brands, and charities they can trust for over 110 years. In 2021, people turned to BBB more than 200 million times for BBB Business Profiles on 6.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 12,000 charities, for free at The International Association of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

MEDIA CONTACTS: For more information, journalists should contact Elvia Castro (703-247-9322 or


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