The PAS asks charitable organizations to complete a
questionnaire and then rates the organization
based on the following standards:
A. Public Accountability
1. Provide on request an annual report that includes
information about the soliciting organization's purposes,
current activities, governance, finances and tax-exempt
2. Provide on request complete annual financial
3. Present adequate information in financial
statements to serve as a basis for informed decisions.
4. Provide on request an accounting of all income and
fund raising costs of controlled or affiliated
B. Use of Funds
1. Spend a reasonable percentage of total income on
programs and activities related to the organization's
2. Spend a reasonable percentage of public
contributions on programs and activities described in
solicitations, in accordance with donor expectations.
3. Spend a reasonable percentage of related
contributions on fund raising.
4. Spend a reasonable percentage of total income on
fund raising and administrative costs.
5. Substantiate upon request application of funds, in
accordance with donor expectations, to the programs and
activities described in solicitations.
6. Establish and exercise adequate controls over
C. Solicitations and Informational
1. Ensure that solicitations and informational
materials, distributed by any means, are accurate, truthful
and not misleading, in whole and in part.
2. Substantiate on request that solicitations and
informational materials, distributed by any means, are
accurate, truthful and not misleading, in whole and in
3. Include in solicitations a clear description of
the program and activities for which funds are
4. Identify in direct contact solicitations a) the
solicitor and his/her relationship to the benefiting
organization, b) the benefiting organization or cause, and
c) the programs and activities for which funds are
5. Identify at the point of solicitations in
conjunction with the sale of goods, or services or
admissions a) the benefiting organization; b) a source from
which written information is available; and c) the actual or
anticipated portion of the sales or admission price to
benefit the charitable organization or cause.
D. Fund Raising Practices
1. Establish and exercise controls over fund raising
activities conducted for the organization's benefit,
including commitment to writing of all fund raising
contracts and agreements.
2. Establish and exercise adequate controls over
3. Honor donor requests for confidentiality.
4. Conduct fund raising without excessive
1. Have an adequate governing structure.
2. Have an active governing body that meets at least
three times a year, with a majority of its members present
3. Have an independent governing body whose
compensated members constitute no more than 20% of the total
4. Have an independent governing body whose members
are not engaged in business transactions in which they have
material conflicting interests.
According to PAS, "Organizations include
on this list (of organizations that are rated) are among
those generating the greatest numbers of inquiries to the
Council of Better Business Bureaus, whose Philanthropic
Advisory Service maintains files on thousands of national
and international soliciting organizations.
This means that organizations which
express controversial messages or who have powerful
competitors often end up on the PAS rating list. It is not
unusual for large organizations to attempt to generate
negative complaints about their competitors to groups such
as the PAS.