Project HOPE Earns the BBB Wise Giving Alliance’s Highest Ranking
Project HOPE has satisfied all 20 of the Better Business Bureau’s standards for charity accountability. Here’s what that means.
Project HOPE has earned the highest ranking awarded by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, meeting all 20 of the BBB’s comprehensive charity accountability standards.
What does that mean?
The BBB Wise Giving Alliance helps donors make informed decisions by evaluating charities against 20 comprehensive Standards for Charity Accountability. These standards focus on a charity’s governance, finances, fundraising practices and effectiveness. After reviewing each one, the BBB determines whether a charity meets the standard or not, or whether more information is needed.
Some of the standards cover board behavior and conflicts of interest, while others judge a charity’s effectiveness and finances — to meet the standards, for instance, a charity must spend at least 65% of its total expenses on program activity, spend no more than 35% on fundraising, and provide a detailed expense breakdown. All informational materials must be accurate and truthful, and donor privacy must be addressed.
“Project HOPE is committed to making the best use of the resources we have so we can deliver the best programs possible.”
“Project HOPE is committed to making the best use of the resources we have so we can deliver the best programs possible,” says Christine Newkirk, Project HOPE’s senior director of Mass Markets Fundraising & Operations. “We also see a lot of value in working with external watchdog groups. We can transparently share our internal processes and see how we stack up to charities who are also recognized as good stewards of their money.”
Charities are not legally required to submit information and materials to the BBB for evaluation, and the accreditation process can be time-consuming and rigorous, involving several departments across the organization. But Project HOPE chooses to go through this process for several reasons — especially for the sake of donors and partners.
“It’s for the donors,” says Noordin Moloo, Project HOPE’s vice president of Finance and chief financial officer. “If I’m giving to an organization, I need to know about its efficiency, strengths and financial status.”
Project HOPE renews its certification every two years through an extensive deep dive into the organization’s advertising practices, communication to donors and stakeholders, board decision-making process, and overall budget and how it supports programming. The BBB reviews HOPE’s website, fundraising materials and informational pieces to determine if they are a truthful and accurate representation of HOPE’s work, while also reviewing finance, human resources and legal department policies.
The process begins with an extensive online questionnaire that each department completes, along with the submission of a wide-ranging list of requested documents. The questions at this stage range from details about HOPE’s programming to how gifts-in-kind are credited.
“We work with the finance and programs teams to answer, to clarify, to drill down. The questions are very detailed,” Newkirk says. “It is definitely not a simple rubber stamp. We went back and forth for quite some time. BBB is very thorough.”
After review, Project HOPE satisfied all 20 standards and was recertified in May for another two years. HOPE can continue to proudly display the BBB seal on its materials and website.
Is it worth it?
“Absolutely,” Newkirk says. “Donors often do not have time to review an organization in fine detail. Even for myself as a nonprofit professional, I find it really valuable to have independent charity evaluators conduct an extensive review of how a nonprofit is performing. This way I know that when I make a gift to an organization that’s highly rated, they are going to use my money wisely.”
How you can help
Make a lifesaving gift to support our work now and for the future at projecthope.org/donate.
Are you a health-care or other professional who would like to learn more about volunteering abroad with Project HOPE? Learn more about our volunteer program and join our volunteer roster.
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