BBB Advises Donors on Disaster Relief Efforts

March 13, 2012

Denver, CO – March 13, 2012 – In the wake of recent disasters in Alabama, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, and other states involving numerous tornadoes, many Americans want to help those who were impacted. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns donors to exercise caution when making donations to relief agencies and charities.

As with every natural disaster, there are unscrupulous schemers who will attempt to take advantage of the public’s eagerness to help victims.

“The images of what has happened in the south and Midwest are unnerving and they instantly compel Americans to want to give and help in any way they can,” said Dale Mingilton, president and CEO of the BBB Serving Denver/Boulder. “The urgency behind such disasters and desire to give is often what causes people to get taken advantage of in these situations. It’s so important that donors take a minute to do their homework to ensure they are giving to a trustworthy and effective organization.”

The BBB offers the advice for donors to ensure their donations go to trustworthy relief efforts.

  • Check with your BBB before donating to see if a report exists on the charity you are interested in, (visit: or call 303.758.2100).
  • Before giving, ask for written information about a charity’s program and finances – especially if you are unfamiliar with the organization.
  • Don’t bend to pressure to give money immediately. A charity that wants your money today also will welcome it at a later date.
  • Avoid the “middle-man” – organizations who claim to raise money for other charities. These tend to be problematic and it’s best to donate directly the charity directly.
  • Make sure a charity’s website has a privacy policy concerning the use of your name, email address or other personal information.
  • If you’re considering texting your gift, verify with the charity (perhaps through its website) that the number you’ve been given by friends or online social networks is correct. You may want to text a small donation and then go online to the site to give more. Also be aware that a texted donation may take longer to reach the charity.
  • If you see posts or messages on social media about raising money for a well-known organization that includes a link, don’t click through. Instead, go to the organization’s site directly.

For more tips on wise giving and donating via social media, please visit

# # # #

About the BBB
The BBB is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice, BBB Business Reviews , BBB Charity Reports and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, your BBB also offers dispute resolution services for consumers and businesses. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, over 100 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada. Please visit for more information.