BBB offers advice when making donations to help hurricane victims
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - In wake of Hurricane Ian, the Better Business Bureau is reminding those who want to help storm victims to check out charities before making donations.
According the BBB, scammers wasted no time capitalizing on collecting donations with no intent on delivering them to those in need.
Regional Director Whitney Quick says it’s important to seek out appeals that are clear, stating what relief services will be supported.
She also says to be cautious of newly formed organizations.
“If the charity already has skilled operations in affected areas, they will be in a better position to provide help quickly and reach those in need,” said Quick. “Also, some charities may be raising money to pass along to other relief organizations. If so, you may want to consider ‘avoiding the middleman’ and donating directly to those charities.”
Quick suggests relying on expert opinion when it comes to evaluating a charity.
The BBB has a list of charities which meets their 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.
The BBB also offers the following advice on how to direct donations:
- Be wary of claims that 100 percent of donations assist victims. All charities have fundraising and administrative costs. Even a credit card donation will involve, at a minimum, a processing fee.
- Be cautious when giving online to unfamiliar charities. Be wary of spam messages and emails claiming to link to a relief organization. After recent natural disasters, many websites and organizations that were created overnight allegedly to help victims turned out to be scams.
- Find out if the charity has a presence in the impacted areas. Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to get new aid workers into the area to provide assistance. See if the charity’s website clearly describes what they can do to address victims’ needs.
- Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups. You may want to avoid the middleman and give directly to charities working in the region. Check out the ultimate recipients of the donations to ensure that the organizations are equipped to effectively provide aid.
- Gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations may not be appropriate. Unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid, the donations may be more of a burden than a help. Ask the charity about their transportation and distribution plans. Be wary of those who are not experienced in refugee relief.
- Be cautious about crowdfunding. These sites do very little to check out the individuals seeking funds after a disaster, and donors may not be able to verify whether the organization or individual seeking funds is trustworthy.
- Give, but give wisely. Go to BBB.org to get a BBB Charity Review or call 888-996-3887.
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