download (4)The devastating earthquake in Nepal recently has already touched the hearts of millions of Americans who want to support disaster relief through donations. BBB Wise Giving Alliance (WGA) advises donors to avoid being taken advantage of by questionable solicitations or wasting their money on poorly managed relief efforts.

“The news out of Nepal is horrific and the photos are heart-breaking,” said H. Art Taylor, president and CEO of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. “People want to help as soon as possible, and that is wonderful, but donors need to follow some key rules about supporting disaster relief so that their gifts get to those who need them most.”

Across the world, relief and development organizations and governments have begun responding to the earthquake in Nepal.  American charities have also begun accepting donations to assist in the region.  Before choosing a charity, remember to do some research; use give.org to find helpful information on charities.

The list below includes nationally soliciting charities accredited by BBB WGA, which means they meet all 20 BBB Charity Standards, and indicate they are collecting contributions to assist Nepal relief efforts.

BBB Wise Giving Alliance Accredited Charities:

BBB Wise Giving Alliance also offers donors the following tips for disaster relief giving:

  • Be cautious when giving online.  Look out for spam messages and emails that claim to link to a relief organization. If you want to give, go directly to the charity’s website.  After the Katrina and Haiti earthquakes, the FBI and other organizations raised concerns about bogus websites and new organizations being created overnight, allegedly to help victims.
  • Rely on expert opinion when evaluating a charity.  Be cautious when relying on third-party recommendations such as bloggers or other websites, as they may not have fully researched the relief organizations listed. The public can go to www.give.org to research relief organizations and other charities to verify that they are accredited by BBB, which means they meet the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.
  • Be wary of 100 percent claims. Claims that 100 percent of donations will assist relief victims are not entirely true.  Despite claims, charities have fundraising and administrative costs. Even a credit card donation will involve, at a minimum, a processing fee. Charities that claim 100 percent of collected funds will assist earthquake victims, will still probably incur fundraising and administrative expenses.  The charity may use other funds to pay these costs, but the expenses are still incurred.
  • Find out if the charity has an on-the-ground presence.  Unless the charity has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to bring new aid workers and provide quick assistance.  Check the charity’s site for a clear description of what the charity will do to address immediate needs.
  • Know if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups.  Some charities raise money to pass along to relief organizations.  If so, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and giving directly to those that have a presence in the region.  At a minimum, check out the organization providing the direct aid to see if they are equipped to help.
  • Before making in-kind donations… gifts of clothing, food or in-kind drives donations, while well intentioned, may not necessarily be the quickest way to help those in need – unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid properly. Ask the charity about its transportation and distribution plans. Be wary of those who are not experienced in disaster relief assistance.

Elaine CullenDirector, Mohave County
Better Business Bureau serving Greater Arizona

Main Office: 60 S. Acoma Blvd Ste B102, Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403  | 928-302-3701

Phoenix: 602-264-1721 | Yavapai: 928-772-3410 | Yuma: 928-919-7940

p: 928-302-3701

f: 928-597-5111

ecullen@arizonabbb.org

bbb.org Start With Trust®

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