BBB’s Charity Accountability Standards: A Great Tool for Nonprofits and You

charity blog headerBy Carole Bellman, BBB Director of Charity Information Services

Most people know Better Business Bureau as a nonprofit organization that helps consumers and businesses with marketplace trust issues. But did you know that BBB helps other nonprofits as well?

BBB’s Charity Information Service evaluates charities based on BBB’s Standards for Charity Accountability, a voluntary set of charity standards. This is the yardstick used to evaluate nonprofits and their governance and oversight, effectiveness, finances and fundraising.

These standards help the nonprofit sector to be self-regulating and potential donors to understand what to look for in a charity.  In this way, BBB helps to strengthen public confidence in the voluntary sector and private giving by promoting the responsible use of funds. A recent New York University study showed that charities that meet BBB standards raised approximately 8 percent more revenue than charities that did not meet standards.

Today, BBB has more than 1,000 local Charity Reviews available to donors to help them give wisely and more than 11,000 reviews of national charities. Periodically, we publish a Giving Guide that is available online, but the most up to date reports are always available at BBB’s website.

There are 202 charities in our region that have earned BBB Accreditation status by meeting all 20 BBB Charity Accountability Standards. Last year, 14,104 prospective donors contacted St. Louis BBB looking for information about charities.   BBB encourages nonprofits to be transparent about how they spend donors’ dollars.  BBB works with each one to help it meet BBB charity standards.

Anyone who contacts BBB for information on a nonprofit will receive a BBB Charity Review that shows whether an organization meets standards, and, if it does not, why it falls short.  BBB’s Charity Information Service does not recommend or endorse any organization, but instead reports factual, unbiased information.

Try out our Look Up a Business or Charity tool at our website if you would like some more information on a charity, or if you’d prefer, call us at 314-645-3300 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays.

We  encourage all soliciting nonprofits that have not been evaluated by BBB to contact me, Carole Bellman, Director of Charity Information Services, at 314-584-6735 or at to get information on becoming a BBB Accredited Charity.  I can provide a link to an online application. The process only takes a few hours.  I will work with you to help you meet  BBB Charity Accountability Standards.


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