by Elayne Starkey
Many of us are saddened by the tragedy of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and looking for ways to help as the Philippine people struggle for even the most basic of necessities. There are reputable agencies and organizations needing and awaiting donations to provide desperately needed aid. Sad as it is, there are also scammers actively working to use this tragedy for their own financial benefit.
We can contribute safely by doing some research before we go online or write a check. Find a reputable charity equipped to provide aid in a natural disaster. Agencies like the Red Cross are secure and well established. Organizations such as Charity Navigator, Charity Watch and GuideStar, all monitor and rate charitable organizations for financial stability and resources provided. Look for “https” a designation that the website uses security safeguards.
Learn the percentage of administrative costs assessed to a charity by their online giving applications and/or telemarketing banks. Nearly all charitable groups use Apps for security and simplicity, but there can be huge differences in the percentages charged to the charity. Be wary too of unsolicited phone pleas for contributions.
Finally, don’t hesitate to specifically designate where you want your contribution to be used. Even established charities have overhead and operating expenses to cover and without a designation on your part, your contribution could go into a general fund instead of to direct aid.