As the public’s attention andhearts are focused on the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan, BBB Wise Giving Alliance advisesdonors to take steps to avoid being taken by questionable solicitors or wastingtheir money on poorly managed relief efforts. The typhoon that hit the Philippinesover the weekend, described as the most powerful in the world this year, hasdestroyed an entire town. More than 10,000 are feared dead.
“Whenwe see the horrific results of a natural disaster, we want to help quickly,”notes H. Art Taylor, president and CEO of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. “Butdonors sometimes forget to follow common sense. As with all charitable giving,we are advising donors to do some research first. Find out what individual charitiesare doing and the time frame of their work. Donors who know what to expect fromthe charities they support are less likely to question the benefit of theirgifts.”
BBBWise Giving Alliance cautions donors to avoid the following five givingmistakes when making disaster relief donations:
MISTAKE # 1: MAKING ADONATION DECISION BASED SOLELY ON CHARITY’S NAME.
Charitiesranging from well-known emergency relief organizations to organizationsexperienced in reconstruction will likely be soliciting for various reliefassistance efforts. Make sure the appeal specifies how the charity will help. Ifit does not, visit the charity’s website. Also, watch out for charity namesthat include the name of the disaster – it could be a start-up group withlittle experience or a questionable effort seeking to gain confidence throughits title.
MISTAKE # 2: COLLECTCLOTHING AND GOODS WITHOUT VERIFYING THAT ITEMS CAN BE USED.
Unlessyou have verified that a charity is in need of specific items and has adistribution plan in place, collecting clothing, food and other goods may endup being a wasted effort. Relief organizations often prefer to purchase goodsnear the location of the disaster to help speed delivery and avoid expensivelong distance freight costs. Also, sending non-essential items may actuallyslow down the charity’s ability to address urgent needs.
MISTAKE # 3: SENDINGDONATIONS TO INEXPERIENCED RELIEF EFFORTS
Goodintentions alone are not enough to carry out relief activities effectively. Ifthe charity has not previously been involved in disaster relief, or does nothave experience in assisting the overseas nation(s) that have been impacted, thislikely will hamper their ability to work well in the affected areas.
MISTAKE # 4: RESPONDINGTO ONLINE & SOCIAL MEDIA APPEALS WITHOUT CHECKING
Don’tlet your guard down just because the appeal is online. Don’t assume that sincea third-party blog, website or friend recommended a relief charity that it hasbeen thoroughly vetted. Check out the charity’s website on your own.
MISTAKE #5: DONATINGWITHOUT DOING YOUR HOMEWORK
Findout if a charity meets recognized accountability standards. If you wantassurance that the charity is transparent, accountable, and well managed, seeif it meets the BBB Wise Giving Alliance’s 20 “Standards for CharityAccountability” by visiting give.org.
The following 25 organizations are BBB Accredited Charities (i.e.,meet all 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability) that have announced ontheir website that they are accepting donations for typhoon relief activities.Donors are encouraged to visit the charities’ websites to find out more aboutthe nature of the assistance they are providing. Some are engaged in immediaterelief while others are focused on longer term recovery efforts. This list does not include all of thecharities involved in typhoon relief. Visit give.org if the organization you are considering is not on thislist.
AdventistDevelopment and Relief Agency International
AmericanJewish Joint Distribution Committee
EpiscopalRelief and Development
Habitatfor Humanity International
Save theChildren Federation
UnitedStates Fund for UNICEF
World FoodProgram USA