BBB Tips for Donating to Disaster Relief Efforts

  
     
September 25, 2017

Beach House

Honolulu, HI – September 22, 2017: Whenever a natural disaster or other tragic events hit, people are quick to begin gathering donations to help support those affected. The past few months have seen disastrous hurricanes, flooding, and earthquakes. When events like these happen, it is important to make sure that your resources are going towards the things you intended and that you are protecting yourself.

Those looking to donate to relief efforts can turn to the BBB Wise Giving Alliance to begin their search. Here you can see if a business is accredited by the BBB, as well as check complaints and research how the organization operates.

When donating to any charity be sure to follow the BBB Wise Giving Alliance’s tips for disaster relief giving:

  • Be cautious when giving online. Be cautious about spam messages and emails that claim to link to a relief organization. If you want to give to a charity involved in relief efforts, go directly to the charity’s website.
  • Rely on expert opinion when it comes to evaluating a charity. Be cautious when relying on third-party recommendations as they may not have fully researched the relief organizations they list. The public can go to www.give.org to research relief organizations and other charities to verify that they are accredited by the BBB.
  • Be wary of claims that 100 percent of donations will assist relief victims. Despite what an organization might claim, charities have fundraising and administrative costs. Even a credit card donation will involve, at a minimum, a processing fee.
  • 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. See if the charity’s website clearly describes what the charity can do to address immediate needs.
  • Find out 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. At a minimum, you should research the end recipient to see how they will be using the funds.
  • In-kind drives for food and clothing, while well intentioned, may not necessarily be the quickest way to help those in need – unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid properly. Ask the charity about its transportation and distribution plans. Be wary of those who are not experienced in disaster relief assistance.

 

ABOUT BBB: For more than 70 years, Hawaii’s Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2015, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation.

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