The BBB will continue to report on charities that have been the subject of recent inquiries regardless of whether a charity in that category intends to apply for the charity seal. Reports on both those national charities that meet our standards and those that do not are accessible on our website.
Because of a long-standing policy precluding use of the BBB name by outside organizations, charities that meet our charity standards have never been permitted to state this fact in their materials or to use the BBB name. Through participation in the seal program, qualified charities now have the option of indicating, online and in promotional materials, that they meet our charity standards through display of the charity seal. To qualify for use of the seal, charities must be found by the BBB to meet its standards, sign a license agreement, and pay an annual fee. Participation in the program is wholly voluntary.
Key points in applying for and retaining use of the seal are outlined below. Interested charities should also review the licensing agreement and the BBB Wise Giving Alliance Standards for Charity Accountability and consult the BBB if further information is needed.
Seal Application Process
STEP 1: Determining Initial Compliance with the Revised BBB Charity Standards
· The BBB's review process, which includes preparation of draft reports, invitations to comment on drafts, and if, applicable, correspondence, discussions and/or meetings with the subject charity, will continue as at present.
· The results of BBB evaluations, of charities both currently or newly the subjects of BBB reports, will be made available to the public and placed on the BBB’s website, whether or not the charity meets the standards.
STEP 2: Licensing Agreement and Fee Arrangement
· Charities that meet the charity standards and wish to participate in the seal program sign a license agreement specifying the conditions for use of the seal and submit the appropriate annual fee. Fees are on a sliding scale based on the total amount of contributions received in the past year by the entity applying for the seal.
· A charity should submit signed license agreement and fee only after it has been informed that it currently meets the revised charity standards. Fees and license agreements submitted before that conclusion is reached will be returned.
STEP 3: Determining Continuing Compliance with BBB Charity Standards
· Generally once every 18 months, the subject charity will need to complete a full questionnaire and submit updated supporting documents for a current review in relation to the charity accountability standards.
· The BBB may revisit an existing evaluation conclusion at any time based on information that comes to its attention. The BBB will contact the subject charity for any needed clarification and will promptly review the related facts and circumstances.
· If the BBB concludes that a charity seal participant no longer meets the charity standards, the BBB will terminate the participation of the subject charity from the seal program and will publicly announce this termination.
· The BBB encourages charities to distribute information about the charity standards and their implementation among its staff to help ensure continuing compliance with these standards.