As Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and other nearby Caribbean islands have been impacted by Hurricane Fiona and suffer from floods, power outages, home displacements and access to basic necessities such as safe water, many charitable organizations are seeking to provide emergency relief and assistance. It’s been five years since Hurricane Maria caused devastation that resulted in the loss of 3,000 lives, but memories of that horrible encounter are prompting many to do what they can to avoid a similarly tragic outcome.

To help assist donors seeking to support relief efforts in this area, BBB Wise Giving Alliance is providing the following giving tips along with a list of BBB Accredited Charities (i.e., those that meet all 20 of the BBB Charity Standards) that are soliciting for Hurricane Fiona activities.

  • Look for appeal clarity. Seek out appeals that are upfront and clear about what disaster relief services you are supporting. A previous Give.org Donor Trust Report issued by BBB Wise Giving Alliance demonstrated that only 24% of donors believe disaster relief appeals are “clear.”
  • Give to experienced groups. Support experienced organizations that stand ready to provide quick and effective assistance. Be cautious of newly formed organizations in the wake of a disaster. While well intended, they may not be able to follow through on their announced activities.
  • See if the charity has an on-the-ground presence. If the charity already has skilled operations in affected areas, they will be in a better position to provide help quickly and reach those in need. Also, some charities may be raising money to pass along to other relief organizations. If so, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and give directly to charities that have a presence in the region.
  • Understanding crowdfunding. If considering crowdfunding, it is safest to give to someone you personally know and trust and review the platform’s policies and procedures. Keep in mind that while some crowdfunding sites take measures to vet postings for help after a disaster, others don’t.
  • Give money rather than goods. Donating money is the quickest way to help and provides charities the flexibility to channel resources to impacted areas.
  • Rely on expert opinion. Rely on expert opinion when it comes to evaluating a charity. We recommend giving to charities that meet all 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability, found at BBB’s Give.org.
  • Be cautious about 100 percent claims. If a charity claims that 100 percent of donations will assist relief victims, see if they also provide an explanation of how this is achieved. Even if the charity is using other funds to cover administrative and fundraising costs, those expenses still exist.

The following organizations are BBB Accredited Charities (i.e., meet the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability) and currently announced on their respective websites that they are collecting funds to assist Hurricane Fiona relief efforts. Additional BBB Accredited Charities will be added as we learn about their Fiona-related activities.

About BBB Wise Giving Alliance: BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB’s Give.org) is a standards-based charity evaluator that seeks to verify the trustworthiness of nationally soliciting charities by completing rigorous evaluations based on 20 holistic standards that address charity governance, results reporting, finances, fundraising, appeal accuracy and other issues. National charity reports are produced by BBB’s Give.org and local charity reports are produced by local Better Business Bureaus – all reports are available at Give.org.