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Wise Giving Wednesday: Relief Assistance for the California Wildfires

Nov 14, 2018

The wildfires in California are devastating and have killed almost two dozen people and displaced many thousands. Both the Hill and Woolsey fire near Los Angeles and the Camp Fire in Northern California continue their paths of destruction that are being vigorously battled by firefighters. To assist those seeking to provide help to either the impacted families, firefighters or both, here are some suggestions to keep in mind.

Volunteer opportunities.

For those who are not too distant from the impacted areas, one might be able to either provide housing for firefighters or donate non-perishable food to help feed those battling the blaze. Contact established charities such as the Salvation Army and United Way to find out more.

Crowdfunding cautions.

While some crowdfunding sites take precautions in carefully screening postings after a disaster, others might not. If unsure, review the posting procedures described on the crowdfunding site and also find out about transaction fees and other specifics. It is always safest to contribute to people and/or families that you personally know that have posted pleas for financial help. Also remember that there may be other giving options such as sending support to charities providing assistance.

Be wary of vague appeals.

Watch out for vague appeals that don’t describe the intended use of funds. For example, will they be used to help displaced families cover temporary housing, rebuild burned communities, or help address other needs?  Also, unless told otherwise, donors assume that funds collected quickly in the wake of a disaster will be spent just as quickly.

Financial transparency in disaster relief.

After funds are raised to address a disaster, it is vital for organizations to provide an accounting of how funds were spent. Transparent organizations will post this information on their websites so that anyone can find out and not have to wait until financial statements are available sometime in the future.

Also remember to check out charities at Give.org to find out if the subject organizations meets the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.


200th Blog for Wise Giving Wednesday

This blog represents the 200th posting of Wise Giving Wednesday on Give.org. We are pleased to have reached this milestone and will continue to provide advice and comment on charity related issues to assist your giving decisions.


Art Taylor to Appear on Ted Hart’s Podcast

Art Taylor will be discussing BBB WGA’s recent activities on Ted Hart’s “The Nonprofit Coach” podcast, to be posted on November 20th.


Video of the Week

We are pleased to provide a video that features highlights of the Give.org Donor Trust Report which was discussed in our October 25th press release. The report provides an in-depth look into donors beliefs, feelings and behavioral intentions related to charity trust and giving. The following video includes clips of interviews with charity leaders reacting to the findings in the report.


Recent Reports

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 give.org/charity-inquiry  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