SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Better Business Bureau has advice for anyone wishing to donate to wildfire relief efforts in Maui, Hawai’i.
The wildfires prompted evacuations and caused severe damage, injuries, and causalities, making the wildfires the deadliest in the U.S. in over a century. Hundreds of families have been displaced, especially in the city of Lahaina.
Donors wishing to support relief efforts in Maui should look for trusted, experienced organizations that are transparent about how donations will be used.
“Donors want to know their money is helping others,” said Michelle L. Corey, BBB St. Louis president and CEO. “The best way to avoid lookalike schemes or untrustworthy organizations is to research thoroughly before donating.”
BBB offers resources for donors to research and evaluate charitable organizations: At Give.org, donors can view a national list of BBB Accredited Charities; at BBB.org, they can see evaluations of area nonprofits and find local Accredited Charities.
BBB’s Accredited Charities meet a high expectation of trust and ethics and are evaluated on a set of 20 standards for governance, effectiveness, and fundraising practices.
BBB’s tips for donating wisely:
- Make sure you know the exact name of the organization. Some scammers will use similar names to impersonate a trusted organization. Double-check the name of the nonprofit and their web address, email, and/or phone number before giving any money.
- Know where your money is going. Don’t assume you know what the organization does based on name alone. Go to their website or call to see what disaster relief services you are supporting.
- Look for experience in disaster relief. Experienced, local and established organizations are better equipped to quickly help communities. Be cautious of organizations that form overnight in the wake of a disaster.
- Crowdfund carefully. If you plan to donate through crowdfunding, it is safest to give to someone you personally know and trust. Review the platform’s policies and procedures, and keep in mind that not all crowdfunding sites take measures to vet or verify posts.
- Beware of high-pressure appeals. Charitable organizations may make an extra push for donations around a certain event, but generally, they will be happy to accept your donation at your convenience. Beware of messages that pressure you to donate immediately. If you’re not sure about donating, wait.
- Donate directly. Give directly to the nonprofit rather than through a fundraising telemarketer or direct mail solicitation. This helps ensure that most of your contribution goes to the nonprofit.
- Donate money rather than goods. Many nonprofits are happy to receive donated clothing or other items, but for some, handling physical donations may just create more work. Money is the quickest way to help, and it gives nonprofits flexibility to use your donation where they need it most.
To report a correction or typo, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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