October 14, 2015 2:15 am
Relief funds are vital to communities impacted by a natural disaster, but an influx of donations in its aftermath can make it difficult to determine how individual contributions will be purposed. According to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, donors can avoid questionable solicitations and ensure their contributions are put to good use by:
Exercising caution when giving online;
Following Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Haiti, the FBI raised concerns about newly-created organizations and websites that claimed to help victims. Be cautious about spam messages and emails that claim to link to a relief organization. If you want to give to a charity involved in relief efforts, go directly to the charity’s website.
Remaining wary of “100 percent” claims;
If a charity claims that 100 percent of collected funds will be assisting disaster victims, the truth is that the organization is still likely incurring fundraising and administrative expenses. Even a credit card donation will involve, at minimum, a processing fee. It may use some of its other funds to pay these costs, but the expenses will still be incurred.
Giving to the charity directly;
Some charities may be raising money to pass along to other relief organizations. If so, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and giving directly to those that have a presence in the affected region. At minimum, research who the ultimate recipients are to see if they are equipped to provide aid effectively.
Avoiding inexperienced charities;
While well-intentioned, in-kind drives for food and clothing may not necessarily be the best way to help those in need, unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute donations properly. Ask the charity about its transportation and distribution plans, and be wary of those who are inexperienced in disaster relief.
Source: BBB Wise Giving Alliance
Published with permission from RISMedia.