To make sure we are supporting charities that are aligned with our mission, we carefully evaluate charities before potentially supporting them with the following three step process. We used to require specific policies to be in place and documented on IRS Form 990 for each organization, but we found that this was not as reasonable as it might sound for smaller (but still excellent) charitable organizations, so that is not required anymore.
1.) Status Confirmation
The easiest fraud to stop is organizations pretending to be charities when they aren’t. We check databases including BBB Wise Giving Alliance, GuideStar, and CharityNavigator to ensure there is a listing and to check for IRS Form 990. If there is not a listing or IRS Form 990 is not available, we will ask the potential charity for copies of their IRS documentation (and/or the equivalent, if international) including their letter of determination, and will check with authorities to verify their status.
2.) Confirming The Organization Shares Our Mission & Pursues It In A Way We Can Condone
Some organizations may technically be charities, but not ones that share our mission to save and improve lives as much as possible. They may also share that mission, while pursuing it in a way that we can’t support or condone. This step (as well as step four) are subjective, but we don’t know of an purely scientific way of evaluating charities safely. What we can do is be very open about the decisions we are making and why. Any time we decide we aren’t going to support a charity, we will publish the reasoning for why, and will ask the charity to comment on that reasoning and let us know whether they can address the concerns we have. If that happens, their status on the index will change from “Not Yet Evaluated” to “Open Review” or “Private Review” depending on if we have good reason to keep the details of the review private until certain facts are confirmed. To make it simple to find our evaluation for any charity on the index that is under review, we create their links the exact same way based on the name of the charity as shown in the Guidestar.com database. For example, the evaluation page for The Red Cross is Hiiobi.com/evaluation-page-for-american-national-red-cross. If that charity isn’t on Guidestar, we will use what we can reasonably assume is their official name, which should be the one listed on their website (some charities have different teams using different names, which can make it hard to be sure of what the official name is or whether there is more than one).
3.) BBB Check & Research Customized To The Field
Like step two, this is somewhat subjective. We will review any complaints on the BBB Wise Giving Alliance page for a charity if there is one, and will do other research that may vary based on the field of work that charity is in and what tools exist for getting information about them. If the status of a charity on our index is changed to “Open Review” during this step or step two, we will post our concerns along with responses from the charity on their evaluation page, and anyone is invited to ask questions or make recommendations.