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.
Responding to online appeals without checking: Don’t assume that since a third-party blog, website or friend recommended a charity that it has been thoroughly vetted. Check out the charity’s website on your own.
Donating without researching first: Find out if a charity meets recognized accountability standards. If you want assurance that the charity is transparent, accountable and well managed, visit give.org see if it meets the BBB Wise Giving Alliance’s 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.
These BBB-accredited charities are accepting donations for typhoon relief: Adventist Development and Relief Agency International, AmeriCares Foundation, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, American Red Cross, Catholic Relief Services, ChildFund International, Children International, Direct Relief International, Episcopal Relief and Development, Feed The Children, GlobalGiving Foundation, Habitat for Humanity International, Heifer International, International Medical Corps, Lutheran World Relief, MAP International, Mercy Corps, Operation USA, Oxfam America, Plan International USA, Save the Children Federation, the Salvation Army, United States Fund for UNICEF, World Food Program USA and World Vision.