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Need Information About a Charity? Check with Your BBB

Need Information About a Charity? Check with Your BBB - The Beacon


By: Amanda

Need Information About a Charity? Check with Your BBB

Did you know that in addition to providing reviews on businesses, the BBB also provides reviews on charities? These reports provide information on the operations of a charitable organization as well as their mission and programs.  We create these reports with the charities’ assistance.  In fact, we couldn’t do it without them!

 So how is a Charity Review developed?

When the BBB receives an inquiry about a local charity, we contact that charity and invite them to participate in our voluntary program by submitting information so we can develop a full report. To develop the report, we ask the charity to respond to a questionnaire and provide us with the following information: financial statements, samples of fundraising materials, how a charity raises funds, what efforts they make to protect your personal information, and how much they spend on programs each year.

The information provided by a charity is then reviewed by a staffer against the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability. The Standards for Charity Accountability were developed with professional and technical assistance from representatives of small and large charitable organizations, the accounting profession, grant making foundations, corporate contributions officers, regulatory agencies, research organizations and the BBBs. The BBB Wise Giving Alliance also commissioned significant independent research on donor expectations to ensure that the views of the general public were reflected in the standards. Once the review by the staffer is complete, the information is then turned into the charity’s Review, which is made available to the public.

If a charity meets all 20 standards, they are an Accredited Charity. (There is no fee for this designation.) A charity who meets all 20 standards may then choose to become a Charity Seal holder, which allows further marketing opportunities through the use of the BBB Accredited Charity logo. (A seal holder must pay an annual licensing fee to use the logo.)

If a charity does not meet all 20 standards, their report will reflect what standards were not met. Keep in mind that these reports reflect the results of an evaluation of informational materials provided voluntarily by the organization. It is not intended to recommend or deprecate, and is furnished solely to assist you in exercising your own judgment. Donors must decide for themselves the significance of any variation from BBB Standards, taking into account the relative importance of the practice in question in the context of the organization’s total performance.

This is not a simple process; however, we believe it helps to keep donors informed and charities transparent.  We thank those charities who work with us to provide this valuable information to our community!

For more information about our program, visit

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Amanda is the Director of Bureau Affairs and is a regular contributor to the consumer education blog. She is one of our go-to colleagues for answering complex consumer inquires. Amanda also manages our charity reporting program.