ALBANY — People all over the United States are looking for ways to help the Philippines recover from the devastating typhoon that has left tens of thousands dead.
“When we see the horrific results of a natural disaster, we want to help quickly,” H. Art Taylor, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, said in a news release.
“But donors sometimes forget to follow common sense. As with all charitable giving, we are advising donors to do some research first. Find out what individual charities are doing and the time frame of their work.”
BBB Wise Giving Alliance cautions donors to avoid these five most common mistakes when making disaster-relief donations:
Making a donation decision based solely on the charity’s name: Charities ranging from well-known emergency relief organizations to organizations experienced in reconstruction will be soliciting donations. Make sure the appeal specifies how the charity will help. If it does not, visit the charity’s website. Also, watch out for charity names that include the name of the disaster; it could be a start-up group with little experience or a questionable effort seeking to gain confidence through its title.
Collecting clothing or goods without verifying they can be used: Unless you have verified that a charity is in need of specific items and has a distribution plan in place, collecting clothing, food and other goods may end up being a wasted effort. Relief organizations often prefer to purchase goods near the location of the disaster to help speed delivery and avoid expensive long-distance freight costs.
Sending donations to inexperienced relief groups: If the charity has not previously been involved in disaster relief or does not have experience in assisting the nation that has been impacted, its inexperience will likely hamper their ability to work well in the affected areas.