Give Wisely in the Aftermath of Hurricane Florence

WILMINGTON, NC - SEPTEMBER 15: People wait in line to fill up their gas cans at a gas station that was damaged when Hurricane Florence hit the area, on September 15, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

BBB Wise Giving Alliance (Give.org) and Better Business Bureau advise donors that experienced disaster relief organizations are your best bet to provide emergency help for victims of Hurricane Florence. It’s also important for contributors to ask about what activities their donations will fund.

BBB Wise Giving Alliance suggests that donors keep the following tips in mind to help avoid questionable appeals for support:

  1. Verify the trustworthiness of soliciting relief organizations by visiting give.org to access free reports that specify if the charity meets the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.
  2. See if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the impacted areas.Unless the charity already has skilled operations in the affected areas, it may be difficult to provide assistance quickly and effectively. See if the charity’s website or appeal clearly describes what the charity can do to address immediate relief needs as well as longer-term recovery needs.
  3. Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or is 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 give directly to charities that have a presence in the region. Appeals for disaster-related donations should clearly state how contributions will be used.
  4. Be cautious about gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations. In-kind drives for food and clothing, while well-intentioned, may not be the quickest way to help those in need – unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to hand out such aid properly. Donated goods may impose extra costs on a charity to cover storage and distribution, and may not meet the most urgent needs.
  5. Understand crowdfunding. While there are resources like Give.org to help vet charities, it is difficult to vet individuals. If you decide to contribute to an individual via crowdfunding, it is safest to give to people you personally know who have posted requests for assistance. Also remember that gifts to help a specific individual generally are not deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purposes. Also check the terms and conditions of the crowdfunding platform to learn how your donation might be affected.

Source: Give.org

For additional disaster giving tips visit this link at Give.org
For a list of BBB Accredited Charities (i.e., organizations that meet the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability) raising funds for Hurricane Florence relief assistance, please go here.

If you would like to report a scam, call your BBB at 256-533-1640 or go to the BBB Scam Tracker. To find trustworthy businesses, visit bbb.org.