BBB Advises Donors on Japanese Earthquake/ Pacific Tsunami Relief Efforts

March 14, 2011

Many Hoosiers may feel prompted to help and donate to disaster relief efforts, as they see news reels from today’s tragic Japanese Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami events. Your Better Business Bureau applauds your generosity, but advices caution and research before donating, to insure your funds reach reputable organization with the true capabilities to help.


“Nothing is more tragic than finding out your generosity was taken advantage of”, says Tom Bozikis, Vice President of Policy and Standards at the Tri-State Better Business Bureau. “With a few simple steps, consumers can insure their safety as well as help those truly in need, if they heed a few tips.” 


Tips from your BBB on donating are below:

  • Before donating, research the charity you’re considering supporting at
  • Consider initiating the donation yourself, rather than responding to online or phone solicitations.
  • If donating online, confirm the site is secure by looking for the “https” in the organization’s online address.
  • Find out if the charity has an on-ground presence in the disaster impact area. If staff is not already in place, it may be difficult for the charity to quickly provide assistance.
  • See if the charity’s website clearly describes what they can do to address immediate needs or ask for written information about the charity’s programs/ finances.
  • Be wary of any charity reluctant to answer reasonable questions about their operations, finances and programs.
  • Don’t give cash. Checks and money orders should be made out to the name of the charitable organization, not to the individual collecting the donation.


You can search your BBB’s website for Accredited Charities at


American Red Cross details regarding locating family and friends in affected regions can be found at: