Wise Giving Wednesday: The Value of Standards

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calendar icon Jul 17, 2020

We are all indeed “entitled to our opinions” as the popular phrase goes but all speech is not created equal.  For example, saying something is trusted can be meaningless if context is not provided. 

What I see as trustworthy 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.

Trustworthiness needs an objective framework to make it a useful concept.  This is where standards prove valuable because they bring objectivity to subjective concepts. The BBB Standards for Charity Accountability have a clearly intended objective – to determine a charity’s trustworthiness. They were developed for that purpose.

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:

  • adequate board oversight,
  • results that correspond with a charity’s mission,
  • financial accountability, and
  • transparent and accurate donor communications.

Trustworthiness will always be a matter of opinion but I hope our standards make our point of view clear.

We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors.  Visit Give.org to check out any charity before giving.  Our recently evaluated charities include:  

Finally, remember to let us know by going to https://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/ if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.  

H. Art Taylor, President & CEO
BBB Wise Giving Alliance

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