Americans are inclined to help others in need when a crisis strikes, here are some tips to make sure your donating to the right need.
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 of Charity Accountability.
2. See if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the impacted areas.
3. Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups.
4. Be cautious about gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations.
5. Understand crowdfunding. Keep in mind that some crowdfunding sites do very little vetting of individuals who decide to post for assistance after a disaster, and it is often difficult for donors to verify the trustworthiness of crowdfunding requests for support.
6. Phases of disaster relief. Remember that every disaster has several phases – rescue, emergency relief, and recovery. Each part relies on public support and continuing funding for success.
7. Recovery time line. For many communities, recovery will be a long-term activity that can take many months or years to accomplish.
8. Disaster planning. Areas that work toward recovery will probably also need to develop plans to better respond to a similar storm in the future.
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The following is a list of BBB Accredited Charities raising funds for the Hurricane Harvey relief:
American Red Cross
Church World Service
Humane Society of the United States
Islamic Relief USA
Save the Children
United Methodist Committee on Relief
United Way of Greater Houston
Consumers can report suspected scams to BBB Scam Tracker (bbb.org/scamtracker), the Texas Attorney General’s hotline (800-621-0508 or firstname.lastname@example.org) or National Center for Disaster Fraud hotline - (866) 720-5721
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