How to Make Sure Oklahoma Tornado Victims Benefit From Your Donation
In the wake of the destructive tornado that devastated Moore, Oklahoma, on Monday, you may be looking for ways to help, like donating to a charity or fund.
Before you give, just make sure of one thing — that your donations are going to a reputable organization that will use the money as promised. Unfortunately, legitimate charities face competition from scammers who either collect for a charity that doesn’t exist or aren't honest about how their “charity” will use the money you give. Like legitimate charities, they might appeal for donations in person, by phone or mail, by e-mail, on websites, or on social networking sites. For more on the questions to ask and for a list of groups that can help you research a charity, go to Charity Scams.
If you’re asked to make a charitable donation to support victims of the tornado, remember:
- Donate to charities you know and trust. Be alert for charities that seem to have sprung up overnight in connection with current events, like a natural disaster.
- Ask if a caller is a paid fundraiser, who they work for, and what percentage of your donation goes to the charity and to the fundraiser. If you don’t get a clear answer — or if you don’t like the answer you get — consider donating to a different organization.
- Don’t give out personal or financial information — including your credit card or bank account number — unless you know the charity is reputable.
- Never send cash: you can’t be sure the organization will receive your donation, and you won’t have a record for tax purposes.
- Check out the charity with the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or GuideStar.
- Find out if the charity or fundraiser must be registered in your state by contacting the National Association of State Charity Officials.