The Better Business Bureau (BBB), among other activities, reviews charities. They have 20 Standards for Charity Accountability:
The BBB Wise Giving Alliance Standards for Charity Accountability 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.
In June of this year, the BBB reviewed Best Friends Animal Society (BFAS) and found they met 17 of the 20 standards. Specifically, BFAS did not meet the following:
Standard 4: Compensated Board Members – Not more than one or 10% (whichever is greater) directly or indirectly compensated person(s) serving as voting member(s) of the board. Compensated members shall not serve as the board’s chair or treasurer.
BFAS does not meet this Standard because:
- 5 members out of the 10 member board of directors (50%) are compensated either directly or indirectly. One of the compensated board members is the chair of the board.
Standard 16: Annual Report – Have an annual report available to all, on request, that includes: (a) the organization’s mission statement, (b) a summary of the past year’s program service accomplishments, (c) a roster of the officers and members of the board of directors, (d) financial information that includes (i) total income in the past fiscal year, (ii) expenses in the same program, fund raising and administrative categories as in the financial statements, and (iii) ending net assets.
BFAS does not meet this standard because the most recent annual report did not include:
- Total expenses for each major program in the same categories that appear in the organization’s financial statements.
In addition, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance requested but did not receive complete information on the organization’s solicitation materials and is unable to verify the organization’s compliance with the following Standard for Charity Accountability: 15.
Standard 15 reads as follows:
15. Have solicitations and informational materials, distributed by any means, that are accurate, truthful and not misleading, both in whole and in part. Appeals that omit a clear description of program(s) for which contributions are sought will not meet this standard.
A charity should also be able to substantiate that the timing and nature of its expenditures are in accordance with what is stated, expressed, or implied in the charity’s solicitations.