Many Americans want to do
what they can to help those impacted by a natural disaster, but often forget to
heed advice that is relevant to all charitable giving. Better Business Bureau
serving Eastern North Carolina advises givers to
take steps to assure themselves that their donations will go to legitimate and
reputable charities that have the capability to help victims.
“It is vital for donors to
learn what individual charities are doing and the time frame of their work,” said Toby Barfield, president and CEO of BBB serving Eastern North Carolina. “Donors should
know what to expect from the charities they support before writing checks or
BBB offers the following tips
to help Americans decide where to direct donations:
Take time to check out
the charity. The best way to avoid being disappointed is to find
out more about the charity before making the donation. Donors should review the
charity’s Web site and visit bbb.org to check out the charity with the BBB Wise Giving Alliance.
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
charities that have a presence in the region. At a minimum, check out the
ultimate recipients of these donations to ensure the organizations are equipped
to effectively provide aid.
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. Even a credit card donation will
involve a processing fee. If a charity claims that 100 percent of collected
funds will be assisting victims, the truth is that the organization is still
probably incurring fund raising and administrative expenses.
Verify if the charity is
registered to solicit donations. North
Carolina requires charities to register with the Secretary
of State’s office in order to solicit charitable contributions. The exception
to this requirement is the American Red Cross, which was chartered by the U.S.
Congress to provide its services and, thus, requires no state registration.
For more information, visit bbb.org.