News & Updates

 

Wise Giving Wednesday: Tornado Fundraising

May 29, 2019

As reported in the New York Times on May 28, “federal government weather forecasters logged preliminary reports of more than 500 tornadoes in the United States in a 30-day period.” That remarkable total also underscores the damage and devastation these horrible storms have left in their wake. Multiple tornadoes struck Ohio during the night on May 27th, devastating homes and businesses in cities, such as Celina, Dayton, Trotwood and Beavercreek.

Oklahoma has also experienced extreme weather.  Due to tornadoes, flooding and severe storms, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management has declared that all of Oklahoma is under a state of emergency.

BBB Wise Giving Alliance continues to recommend contributing to experienced relief organizations that meet the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability, particularly in the wake of natural disasters. Visit BBB’s Give.org to access reports on these and other charities. Experienced relief organizations are more likely to provide quick and effective assistance.

If you are also considering crowdfunding sites, we offer the following additional advice:

  1. Donate to People You Know. While charities can be vetted, it is much more difficult to assess the trustworthiness of individuals who have posted a request for assistance. As a result, it is safest to give to crowdfunding postings of people you personally know.
  2. Review Crowdfunding Procedures. Crowdfunding platforms are not all the same. Some do a better job of vetting postings and projects that appear on their site than others. Review the site’s description of its oversight procedures before you participate. If you can’t easily find this description, visit a site that is more transparent.
  3. Pictures May Not Be Authorized. Some crowdfunding postings may be using pictures of impacted families without their permission. As a result, don’t assume a photo confirms an official connection. Again, each site has different rules and verifications.
  4. Your gift may not be deductible. If a crowdfunding posting is claiming to be helping a specific named individual or family, donors in the U.S. generally cannot claim a federal income tax deduction as a charitable gift, even if the individual or family is in need. See IRS Publication 526, page 6, for more information on this subject. 
  5. How funds will be used?  Vague descriptions of how the collected funds will be used should also be a yellow caution light. For example, will the funds be used to assist medical expenses, reconstruction, funerals or other activities? Thoughtful requests for funding will take the added step of identifying and verifying needs before money is raised.

Video of the Week

As part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide a video featuring an interview with Beth MacNairn, Deputy Director, Health Volunteers Overseas (a BBB Accredited Charity) that works to address the global health workforce crisis by implementing programs that meet the needs of the host country and institutions, are sustainable, and build local capacity. The organization states that its volunteers provide clinical and didactic education through continuing education and degree granting programs, faculty and staff training, mentoring, education material development, and professional collaboration.

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 www.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