picking a charityPicking the Perfect Holiday Charity

The holiday season is traditionally a time of good cheer and generosity. If you’re in the mood to make a charitable donation, you can easily find a slew of organizations ready and willing to accept your hard-earned dollars. You may choose to help the poor, the sick, the hungry, or the homeless. You may prefer to see your contribution used locally, regionally, or on a global scale. No matter what charity you choose, you undoubtedly want your resources to be used honestly and efficiently.

The Wise Giving Alliance

If you need help selecting a charity, the Wise Giving Alliance can help. Created by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) in 2001, this organization evaluates non-profit charities based on 20 “Standards of Charity Accountability”. Among other things, the standards help you determine if a specific charity is a good match for your pocketbook.

Financial Transparency

Charities that clearly publicize their goals and objectives are rated favorably by the Wise Giving Alliance. These charities provide a detailed financial breakdown of their budget, including the amount spent on programs, fund raising, and administrative costs, to donors and all other interested parties.

Judicious Spending

Charities that spend donor dollars judiciously are rated favorably by the Wise Giving Alliance. Specifically, 65% (or more) of financial assets must go toward programs, with the remaining 35% (or less) spent on fund-raising.

The BBB Seal

Charities approved by the Wise Giving Alliance may purchase and display a Better Business Bureau seal. By displaying the seal, potential donors can tell at a glance if the charity meets certain standards. It should be noted that not all charities approved by the Wise Giving Alliance purchase the seal.

The Wise Giving Guide

If you want to find out more about the financial integrity of a charitable organization, you can read about it in the Wise Giving Alliance’s “Wise Giving Guide”. This quarterly magazine evaluates national charities based on the above-mentioned standards, and is available through the BBB web site. You can also electronically search the site for specific charity evaluations.