Make Sure Your Charitable Donation Ends Up Helping Hurricane Michael Victims

October 24, 2018

© Trevor Hughes-USA TODAY NETWORK

It was two weeks ago (October 10, 2018) that Hurricane Michael made landfall and devastated the eastern portion of the Florida panhandle as a category 4 storm.  While you have the best intentions of helping those affected by the storm, not all charities who are involved with hurricane aid are using your donations for hurricane victims. Scammers often try to take advantage of disasters and there are many real charities that, despite their promising names and flashy websites, do very little to help anyone. Fortunately there are charity watchdogs groups who evaluate charities on many factors, including how much donated money is used for their programs as opposed to fundraising and general expenses. Start by visiting give.org.  It is the charity watchdog web site from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) that posts links to charities and businesses that meet the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. Two other creditable sources are Charity Navigator and Charity Watch. The charities that most deserve your donations at this time are those that are in a position to help on the ground. Simply type in the charity name or browse accredited organizations. For instance, Direct Relief, a well-rated charity, says it already has committed $250,000 to aid Hurricane Michael victims and has made $85 million in medical supplies available. The watchdogs have also given high marks to local groups responding to Hurricane Michael. Among them is Feeding the Gulf Coast, which is providing food aid in the areas most devastated by the storm, and Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida, which is also asking for volunteer help in dispensing aid and assisting in storm clean up and recovery. The United Way has created a Hurricane Michael Recovery Fund and aims to deliver 100% of earmarked donations to its local chapters in the affected areas in Florida, Alabama and Georgia for recovery needs. Among other national charities the watchdogs have listed are the American Red Cross, and World Vision. Whatever charity you decide to donate in helping Michael victims, make sure the charity earmarks your donation to Michael relief.  If there is no means to do this, there is no way to know if your donation will be used as you intended. 

SOURCE: Consumer Reports

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