The impulse to want to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey any way possible is strong. But the Better Business Bureau is cautioning donors to do a little bit of homework before deciding how to contribute to make sure the money goes to the people and organizations who can help victims in the best way possible.
“Donors need to be aware of some key cautions so that their generosity will get to those in need quickly,” said H. Art Taylor, president and CEO of the BBB's Wise Giving Alliance in a message to the public.
The BBB offered a list of tips for potential donors as well as a list of charities that it has accredited so far.
BBB tips for giving to victims of Hurricane Harvey:
- 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 for charity accountability.
- See if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the impacted areas.
- Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups.
- Be cautious about gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations. In-kind drives for food and clothing, while well-intentioned, may not necessarily be the quickest way to help those in need – unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid properly.
- Keep in mind that some crowdfunding sites do very little vetting of individuals who decide to post for assistance after a disaster.
A list of BBB Accredited Charities raising money for Hurricane Harvey victims: