Looking For Trustworthy Charities? Ask BBB

Foodbank volunteers

Volunteers pack food boxes for seniors at St. Louis Area Foodbank recently.

By Jerri Stroud, BBB Editor

What do you look for when you want to give to or volunteer with a charity?

Many of us pick a charity that we care about and one that mirrors our own interests.

But how do we know which ones we can trust?

Many Americans say they look at a charity’s finances – what they do with their money. A recent survey by BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance found that 46 percent of respondents said finances were their primary yardstick. (Twenty percent said ethics were the most important factor, while 14 percent cited a charity’s name recognition and 11 percent said results were the most important.)

But are financial measures the best way to evaluate a charity? Do they really show the complete picture of how a charity performs?

At Better Business Bureau, we look at finances, but we do a lot more. BBB examines a charity’s governance, effectiveness and fundraising practices as part of a rigorous evaluation process to determine whether the charity complies with BBB’s 20 Standards of Charity Accountability.

BBB WGA New Data on GivingOnly when we are satisfied that the charity meets those standards do we offer them BBB Accreditation and the opportunity to use the BBB Accredited Charity seal.

So when you go to BBB’s Guide to Accredited Charities, you can be sure that each listed charity meets those standards and will use your money or your volunteer hours wisely. The same applies if you see a BBB Accredited Charity seal on the charity’s website. If you click on the seal, it should take you to the nonprofit’s BBB Charity Review.

(Some charities are nationally Accredited and can be found on BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance website.)

This holiday season, if you’re looking for great charities, make sure they have qualified as BBB Accredited Charities. We firmly believe you’ll find these charities to be transparent and trustworthy.

BBB offers  BBB Charity Reviews and BBB Business Reviews 24 hours a day at www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300 during regular business hours.

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