August 16, 2017

Wise Giving Wednesday: Fundraising for Charlottesville Victims

Following the outpouring of public shock and concern over the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, many are seeking to assist the victims of violence directed at those protesting the white supremacist rally. As with other tragedies, bad fundraising actors are more likely to strike when emotions run high. The Office of the Attorney General in Virginia issued a press release yesterday urging donors to exercise caution as they consider donating money to assist victims in their recovery. BBB Wise Giving Alliance also shares the following tips to assist contributors.

  1. Wise Giving. Don't assume the first contribution request is the best choice. Take the time to find trusted charities that are providing assistance.
  2. Crowdfunding Cautions. Questionable solicitors may set up a crowdfunding page but have no official connection to the victims and/or their families, or to any charitable organization. While some crowdfunding sites have implemented procedures to help prevent fraudulent efforts, especially after a tragedy, others don't. Also, crowdfunding sites vary in terms of fees charged for transactions and when collected donations are released to the fundraiser.
  3. Respecting Victims and Their Families. Organizations or individuals raising funds should get permission from the victims and/or their families to use either the names of the victims and/or any photographs of them.
  4. How Will Donations Be Used? Watch out for vague appeals that don't identify the intended use of funds. For example, how will the donations help victims and/or their families? Also, unless told otherwise, donors will assume that funds collected quickly in the wake of a tragedy will be spent just as quickly. See if the appeal identifies when the collected funds will be used.
  5. What if a Family Sets Up Its Own Assistance Fund? Some victims and/or their families may decide to set up their own assistance funds. Be mindful that such funds may not be set up as charities. Also, if collected monies are administered by a third party such as a bank, CPA or lawyer, this will help provide oversight and ensure the collected funds are used appropriately (e.g., paying for medical expenses, counseling, and other tragedy-related needs.)

For additional information about making informed giving decisions, visit Give.org.


As part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to provide a video that features Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, Founder and President of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (a BBB Accredited Charity) which seeks to promote understanding and cooperation between Jews and Christians and to build broad support for Israel and other shared concerns.  


We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:

Finally, remember to let us know by going to https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/ if you are  interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.   

H. Art Taylor, President & CEO
BBB Wise Giving Alliance