Watchdogs merging – Consolidation of donor help

Two leading groups that monitor charitable organizations and offer assistance to donors are teaming up.

The National Charities Information Bureau in New York and the Philanthropic Advisory Service of the Council of Better Business Bureaus’ Foundation in Arlington, Va., have agreed to create a one-stop shop offering information about charities.

The group, which hasn’t picked a new name, will be based in Arlington.

The merger sparked criticism that the more effective of the two groups would now lose its clout, the Associated Press reported Aug. 31.

Marjorie Longley, a retired executive of The New York Times Co. who served on the NCIB board for 13 years until 1996, told AP she was dumbfounded when she heard the news.

“NCIB has been a very effective watchdog for donors,” she said. “I can’t tell you why they would let it go down the tubes.”

Other critics said they feared the merged group would stick to PAS’ standards, which they said are weaker than NCIB’s.

NCIB, for example, won’t certify charities with large cash stockpiles in addition to their endowments, AP said. The PAS has no such standard, and several charities that meet its standards flunk NCIB’s review.

Candace McIlhenny, executive director of the BBB Foundation, told AP that the criticism was misleading. PAS’ standard differs from that of NCIB to ensure that charities spend rather than stockpile the money they receive, but the goal is the same.

“We call for an organization to spend at least 50 percent of the income it receives,” she said.  

For full story go to Better Business Bureau or Alta Vista.

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