What is the BBB Wise Giving Alliance?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance is a group which evaluates charities using a 20 point rubric. Charities which fulfill the terms of the rubric are included in the listings of the organization so that potential donors know that these charities are believed to be ethical and sound choices for donations. This group is also called the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, or simply the Wise Giving Alliance. It is important to remember that this group cannot evaluate every charity; if a charity is not listed with the Wise Giving Alliance, it doesn't mean that the charity is not reputable.

Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone
Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone

The BBB was founded in 1912, in response to a growing recognition of a need for consumer faith and trust in merchants from small to giant. The organization is active in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Members agree to abide by terms of the BBB, and consumers can use the group to help resolve complaints and issues, even with non-members. The BBB is considered a highly reputable organization, and works such as the Wise Giving Alliance are widely applauded by consumer activists.

Most charitable organizations accomplish their goals of assisting society in various ways through generous donations of time, money, and goods from philanthropic members of the public. However, some charities have unethical or questionable practices, and in rare cases a “charity” is actually a business which is run for profit, to the cost of people the charity claims to be assisting. This can make donations to charity very difficult for average consumers, because they want to help people, but they also want assurances that their money is being used for a good cause.

The Wise Giving Alliance is one of many organizations which certifies charities. Charities volunteer for inclusion, and staff members evaluate applicants on the basis of standards which include things like maintaining clear financial records, keeping a board of directors in control of the organization, advertising truthfully, and making annual reports available to people who ask for them. Another major concern for many people is how much of their donation is actively used to further the charity's stated mission or goal; a Wise Giving Alliance certified charity must use at least 65% of funds on “program activities.”

If you are considering charitable donation, you should look up the charity you are considering with the Wise Giving Alliance or another organization which certifies charities. You use organizations like GuideStar or local BBB branches to get more information about a charity. As a potential donor, you should be able to make informed decisions about how your money is used, and you should also feel confident about the groups that you assist.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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