BBB Wise Giving Alliance Issues Donor Advisory for Syrian Refugee Assistance

September 08, 2015

Arlington, VA
– As the Syrian refugee crisis continues to grow, BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB WGA) warns donors to be cautious when making donations to assist refugees in need.

“Tragedies generate public sympathy but unfortunately also attract scam fund raising efforts,” notes H. Art Taylor, president and CEO of BBB WGA. “We are reminding contributors to be on the lookout for questionable solicitors and recommend that they focus giving efforts on charities that already have a presence in the impacted areas.”

When donating to assist in the Syrian refugee crisis, keep the following tips in mind to avoid scams.

Be cautious when giving online.
Be cautious about online giving, especially in response to spam messages and emails that claim to link to a relief organization. Instead, go directly to the charity’s web site.

Rely on expert opinion when it comes to evaluating a charity.
Be cautious when relying on third-party recommendations from bloggers or other web sites. The public can go to to verify if a charity meets the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.

Be wary of claims that 100 percent of donations will assist relief victims.
Despite what an organization might claim, charities have fund raising and administrative costs.

Find out if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the impacted areas.
Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to bring in new aid workers to provide assistance quickly.

Determine if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups.
Some charities may be raising money to pass along to relief organizations. If so, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and giving directly to those that have a presence in the region.

The following organizations are collecting funds for Syrian refugee relief and meet all of the BBB Charity Standards: 

American Refugee Committee

Catholic Relief Services
Church World Service
Concern Worldwide US
Helping Hand for Relief and Development
International Medical Corps
International Rescue Committee
Islamic Relief USA
Lutheran World Relief
Medical Teams International
Mennonite Central Committee
Mercy Corps
Oxfam America
Plan International USA
Save the Children
United States Fund for UNICEF
World Food Program USA
World Relief
World Vision

ABOUT BBB WISE GIVING ALLIANCE: BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB WGA) is a standards-based charity evaluator that seeks to verify the trustworthiness of nationally-soliciting charities by completing rigorous evaluations based on 20 holistic standards that address charity governance, results reporting, finances, fundraising, appeal accuracy and other issues. National charity reports are produced by the BBB WGA and local charity reports are produced by local Better Business Bureaus – all reports are available at

ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2014, people turned to BBB more than 165 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.4 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at