Solicitation standards – Voluntary guidelines under review

The Council of Better Business Bureaus is asking charities and donors for input as it begins to revise its Standards for Charitable Solicitations.

The council has issued a report setting out its main concerns.

Those concerns include measuring a charity’s effectiveness; donor privacy; online fundraising; accuracy of financial reporting, responsible governance; and appropriate use of funds.

“Given the range and complexity of these issues, we feel it is essential to hear from the organizations most directly affected by the standards,” said Bennett Weiner, the council’s vice president and director of the philanthropic advisory service.

“These are voluntary guidelines and we want to ensure that they are not overly burdensome to meet,” he said. “At the same time, we want to be sure that they meaningfully address the issues of concern to donors.

The requested input will greatly assist us in shaping the next generation of standards.”

A 16-member advisory group is overseeing the changes in the guidelines.  Small and large charities, corporate and foundation donors and Better Business Bureaus all are represented.

The group also includes experts in nonprofit accounting, philanthropic research, state regulation and international solicitation practices. 

The council’s charitable solicitation standards are the basis for national charity reports produced by the group’s philanthropic advisory service of and by many local Better Business Bureaus.

Comments may be sent to Bennett Wiener at

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