The goals of the Greater Cleveland BBB’s Charity Review Program are:
- to support local charitable organizations which responsibly self regulate by adhering to a set of standards that promote public accountability;
- to promote responsible use of funds, and proper solicitation and governance practices;
- to be an impartial source of information on charities and other non-profit soliciting organizations operating in the BBB’s five-county service area;
- to educate the donating public by providing reports on soliciting organizations as well as valuable information relating to wise charitable giving.
How We Report
The Cleveland BBB Charity Review Program is structured around a set of twenty Standards for Charity Accountability adopted by the Greater Cleveland BBB Board of Directors which address the accountability, financial, solicitation, fundraising, and governance practices of charitable organizations. The Standards were developed in 2003 by the Council of Better Business Bureaus’ Wise Giving Alliance, with the help of soliciting organizations, local BBBs, regulatory agencies, fundraising professionals, corporate contribution executives, and attorneys.
The Standards for Charity Accountability are the foundation for the reports the BBB issues on local charitable organizations. Charities are asked to submit a variety of materials including annual reports, audited financial statements, and solicitation materials that will enable the BBB to assess the organization’s practices against the Standards and issue a report.
The Greater Cleveland BBB and the Council of BBBs’ Wise Giving Alliance work together to issue individual reports on local and national charities that are actively soliciting donations. These reports indicate whether or not a charity adheres to the established BBB Standards. If the charity meets or does not meet these Standards, it will be indicated in the report. If a charity chooses not to participate by providing information, that is also reported.
These reports contain much more than our evaluation. They are a snapshot of the charity itself—its mission, programs, and basic financial information—in essence a mini Annual Report on the organization.
These reports also assist in donor decision- making by giving information on fundraising methods and costs, and the percentage of funds dedicated to the charitable cause itself.
The Greater Cleveland BBB does not apply the Standards for Charity Accountability to:
- 501(c)(3) private foundations
- Churches soliciting only their own congregations
- Government agencies
- Local school fund raisers (candy/ticket sales, raffles, etc.)