July 18, 2018

Wise Giving Wednesday: Government Regulators & BBB Wise Giving Alliance

In its role as a standards-based charity evaluator, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance shares some common interests with federal and state government regulators of charities. In part, both are seeking to help identify bad actors and help the donating public in making wise giving decisions. Different tools, however, are being used to accomplish this objective. 

For government agencies, the monitoring of a charity’s compliance with laws and regulations covering charitable solicitations and fundraising companies provide a basis for correcting abuses in the philanthropic marketplace. For the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability enable us to complete comprehensive evaluations that address such issues as charity governance, results reporting, finances, appeal accuracy and donor privacy.

There are some key distinctions in the application of these different monitoring methods. Government agencies can require charities to submit requested materials through annual charity registration and, if needed, issue subpoenas for additional information to complete investigations. In contrast, BBB WGA relies on charities to voluntarily furnish information to trained and experienced analysts and complete an extensive online questionnaire to complete its standards assessment.

Another key difference is that while some of the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability capture elements of fundamental malfeasance such as deceptive appeals or self-dealing, our standards also address broader trust issues involving board oversight, website content or results reporting that go beyond legal requirements.

Both government agencies and BBB WGA hope to strengthen the public’s trust in philanthropy and help ensure that contributions are used for the purposes for which they are solicited.


Video of the Week 

As part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide a video featuring Michael Roberts, President and CEO, First Nations Development Institute (a BBB Accredited Charity) which works to improve economic conditions for Native Americans through technical assistance and training, advocacy and policy, and direct financial grants.   


Recent Reports

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:

Finally, remember to let us know by going to give.org/charity-inquiry 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