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Wise Giving Wednesday: Advice on Notre Dame Fire Fundraising

Apr 16, 2019

Across the globe, people are in shock over the fire that severely damaged Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Now that the fire is out and there are only a few injuries to emergency personnel, thoughts have turned to repair and renovation of the magnificent and historic building. The cathedral was declared “structurally sound” after an inspection on Tuesday, and the president of France and mayor of Paris have both vowed to rebuild the landmark.

French corporations and billionaires have already pledged millions to aid in the effort, and companies in other countries are starting to promise contributions, as well. However, the Better Business Bureau is warning individuals to “wait to donate,” to make sure donations are going to the official Notre Dame rebuilding fund and not into the hands of scammers. 

“Scammers are opportunists, and they will take advantage of whatever is in the news,” said Art Taylor, president and CEO of BBB Wise Giving Alliance (Give.org). “We expect to see Notre Dame fundraising appeals on social media and crowdfunding sites. Some will be from well-intentioned people who are not directly involved with the cathedral, but some may be from scammers. BBB Wise Giving Alliance is urging people to ‘wait to donate’ until an official rebuilding fund is established.”

Taylor also reminded donors in Canada and the United States that donations are more likely to be tax-deductible if they ‘wait to donate’ through a charity based in their own country   rather than contribute through another individual, a crowdfunding site, or a foreign entity. “The rebuilding will take some time,” he added. “It’s best to wait until we have more details about which official entities are raising funds to assist the rebuilding.”

The French Ministry of Culture has identified four existing entities that are accepting funds to help with reconstruction of Notre Dame:

In addition, the French government has plans to create two funds, one for French donations and the other for international donations. We will share information on these as we learn of them.

BBB Wise Giving Alliance is identifying which charities in the U.S. are raising funds for Notre Dame and will update this blog soon.

If you see a suspected scam aimed at raising funds for Notre Dame (or any disaster), please report it to BBB Scam Tracker at BBB.org/ScamTracker.

For more information on giving to trustworthy charities, go to Give.org.