It seems that there is a natural disaster happening all the time.
The most recent has been Hurricane Florence that hit the east coast pretty hard. Disaster victims rely on help from all of us.
However, if you want to help, make sure your charity donation goes to a credible organization.
These disasters solicit cries for help from flood-ravaged homeowners and small businesses – making us all want to help any way we can.
The most practical way is often through financial donations.
However, as responsible citizens and business owners, we need to be diligent to make sure that our donations – to any type of relief effort – truly makes it to the people who are hurting the most.
For whatever reason, some people and organizations prey on the generosity of the masses – and take advantage of the tenderhearted who just want to do something to help.
This is why it is important to make sure the organization you are donating to is accountable and using the money for its intended purpose.
So how do you know if an organization is reputable?
Most organizations that exist to help others in time of crisis – have good intentions and work really hard to make a difference.
However, not all charitable organizations are business savvy.
This means they often lack some of the fundamental core business processes that help an organization succeed both financially – but also in achieving its core mission.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) identified this as a problem and has developed the BBB Wise Giving Alliance Standards for Charity Accountability.
The goal is to ensure that there is an active, independent, and free of the self-dealing board that governs the organization appropriately.
These standards were developed to assist donors in making sound giving decisions and to foster public confidence in charitable organizations.
The standards seek to encourage fair and honest solicitation practices, to promote ethical conduct by charitable organizations and to advance support of philanthropy.
There are 20 standards that fall into four categories of accountability:
- Board Oversight
- Board Size
- Board Meetings
- Board Compensation
- Conflict of Interest
This section looks at how an organization measures and assesses its effectiveness in achieving its mission and vision.
This is done by ensuring that an organization has defined, measurable goals and objectives in place.
It also has a process to evaluate the success and impact of its programs in fulfilling the goals and objectives of the organization. As well as identifying ways to address deficiencies.
- Effectiveness Policy
- Effectiveness Report
This section of the standards seeks to ensure that the charity spends its funds honestly, prudently, and in accordance with statements made in its fundraising appeals.
- Program Expenses
- Fundraising Expenses
- Accumulating Funds
- Audit Report
- Detailed Expense Breakdown
- Accurate Expense Reporting
- Budget Plan
Fundraising and Informational Materials
This section seeks to ensure that a charity’s representations to the public are accurate, complete, and respectful.
- Accurate Materials
- Annual Report
- Website Disclosures
- Donor Privacy
- Cause Marketing Disclosures
As you can see this is a comprehensive plan to ensure that organizations that solicit donations operate efficiently, honestly, and with integrity.
If an organization can meet all the standards requirements, they can achieve the BBB Accredited Charity seal and are entered into the BBB giving guide.
This seal gives a donor the confidence that the organization meets critical criteria for the oversight of the organization.
To check out an organization or get more information, you can go to give.org.
I encourage you to research an organization before giving it to them.
However, we can’t assume that organizations that don’t apply for the BBB accreditation aren’t meeting all the criteria, but the BBB giving guide helps identify those organizations that do.
Either way, giving is important, especially during times of crisis and natural disasters.
What is your favorite charitable organization?