The devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy will propel many people to donate their money and time to the relief effort. To be sure that you are not being taken by questionable solicitors or wasting your money on poorly managed relief efforts, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance as offered the following DOs and DON’Ts list to serve as a guide for your charitable donations:
DO find out what relief activities the charity will fund.
As a variety of charities, ranging from well known relief organizations to animal welfare groups, will likely be soliciting for various relief efforts, make sure the appeal specifies how the charity will help. If not, ask the solicitor or visit the charity’s website.
Do make sure the charity has the skills and experience to carry it out.
Good intentions alone are not enough to carry out relief efforts effectively. If the charity has not been involved in disaster relief before, you may want to consider more experienced organizations.
Do verify that the charity meets recognized accountability standards.
If you want assurance that the charity is transparent, accountable and well managed, see if it meets the BBB Wise Giving Alliance’s 20 “Standards for Charity Accountability” by visiting www.give.org. Contact the Better Business Bureau in your area to find out about regional charities.
DO consider not only immediate help, but also long term recovery needs.
The needs of those impacted by Hurricane Sandy will not disappear when the headlines do. Long term recovery and rebuilding will also need funding.
DO give generously once you’ve done your homework.
Once you have checked out the charity to your satisfaction, give with the confidence that your generosity will be used well.
DON’T assume what the charity does based on its name alone.
The charity’s name will not always reveal what it does. If you assume you know what role they will have in the effort, you may be mistaken or disappointed.
DON’T make your donation decision just by viewing your charity’s finances.
Just because a charity spends large amounts on their program activities doesn’t that they are accountable and effective at carrying out their work.
DON’T agree to donate to telephone solicitors without checking out the charity first.
Questionable phone solicitors are counting on the fact that most donors won’t take the time to find out more about the charity.
DON’T collect clothing and other items without verifying if these items can be used.
Unless you have verified that a charity is in need of specific donated items and has a distribution plan in place, collecting clothing, food and other goods may end up being a wasted effort.
DON’T let your guard down in responding to online appeals.
As always, watch out for spam email claiming that it provides a link to a well known charity relief page. After checking out the charity, go to the website on your own.
To read the full article, visit www.bbb.org/us/wga-news-releases.