the wake of the deadly tornadoes that tore through the southeast, your BBB warns donors to exercise
caution when making donations to relief agencies and charities.
with every natural disaster, there are unscrupulous people who will
attempt to take advantage of the public’s eagerness to help victims.
the face of any disaster, Americans will immediately step forward with
donations to aid the victims and their families,” said Norman Wright,
president and CEO of your BBB Serving Northwest Florida. “Unfortunately,
we’ve seen time and time again that scammers will try to take advantage
of the generosity of the public after a disaster; that’s why it’s so
important to take your time and do your research before donating to
Your BBB offers the advice for donors to ensure their donations go to trustworthy relief efforts.
- Before donating, visit www.bbb.org/charity to research organizations you’re considering supporting.
- Be wary of charities that are reluctant to answer reasonable questions about their operations, finances and programs.
for written information about the charity’s program(s) and finances
such as the charity’s latest annual report and financial statements.
what the charity intends to do with any excess contributions remaining
once they’ve fully funded the disaster relief activities mentioned in
- Don’t give cash. Checks or money orders should be
made out to the name of the charitable organization, not to the
individual collecting the donation.
- Beware fake charities that imitate the name and style of well-known organizations in an attempt to confuse donors.
give in to excessive pressure for on-the-spot donations. Be wary of any
request to send a “runner” to pick up your contribution.
wary of any charity that is inexperienced in carrying out relief efforts
but is suddenly soliciting for aid in the wake of the earthquake and
tsunami. Although well intentioned, they may not be able to quickly
deliver aid to those in need.
- Be wary of appeals that are long
on emotion, but short on describing what the charity will do to address
the needs of victims and their families.
- Don’t give your credit
card number or other personal information to a telephone solicitor or in
response to an e-mail solicitation.
- Make sure your contribution
is tax deductible: donations should be made to charitable organizations
that are tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue
Code. Go to IRS Publication 78 on the IRS’ website for a current list of all organizations eligible to receive contributions deductible as charitable gifts.
additional information you can trust when making giving decisions, or
to view BBB Wise Giving Reports on charities across the nation, start