Donating in the 21st Century can be just as easy as going to a website and submitting an online payment or texting a code to an agency for a quick $10 payment. For instance, you can text “REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation” towards Hurricane Sandy Relief. Quick and easy, right? Even simpler than that a Facebook friend may ask you to click on a fan page, in order to donate a $1 towards a cause. Of course, this isn’t so cool if you click on a picture or website, and a virus is downloaded to your computer. A $1 donation can turn into having your computer hacked and your bank account wiped clean! (See these tips from the FBI, to avoid infecting your computer.)
Another method of donating, which you may or may not be familiar with is called, “crowd funding.” Basically, the way this idea works is that someone creates a website, where like-minded people can donate towards a particular cause. An article was written, last week, in the “Bloomberg News” about how crowd funding can be used to help raise lots of money to help individual victims. Crowd funding bypasses organizational costs, and monies can go directly to the cause, which may seem like a huge benefit at face value. If you dig a little deeper though, things may not always be as they appear.
Going to a random website and making a donation is like dating a stranger. You don’t know anything about its history, including who created it, who receives the money, whether the receiver will actually donate the money to the cause, and on and on. It is always best to know a little bit of background on the website, before parting ways with your money. A good way to do this is by checking out the organization’s Reliability Report with the Better Business Bureau.
Simply by going to www.bbb.org, click on “USA site,” and the orange bar that says “Check Out a Business or Charity.” From there, you can search for the organization, either by group name, phone number or website. If there is no information, then you might want to check a little further. Call your BBB and see if we can help you find out something. If we have nothing on that organization, perhaps we can assist you by finding a different organization, one with a reliable history and minimal complaints. Chances are there may be several groups that give towards the same cause.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/dhammza/474654705/”>dhammza</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org