Wise Giving Wednesday: Flooding Hits Texas, Gulf Coast States and Lower Mississippi Valley
As much as 15 inches of rain flooded the Dallas/Fort Worth area this week and torrential rains also extended into Louisiana and the Lower Mississippi Valley. On the heels of recent flooding that devastated eastern Kentucky and parts of Missouri several weeks ago, many areas are struggling to cope. To help those in need, BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers the following giving tips.
Crowdfunding options. Please keep in mind that while some crowdfunding sites take precautions in screening, vetting and managing postings after a tragedy, others will not. If unsure, review the posting procedures described on the crowdfunding site and also find out about transaction fees and other specifics.
Clarity of program descriptions. Watch out for vague appeals that don’t explain the intended use of donations. Will the money be used to provide temporary shelter, food, medicines, or address other needs? Also, don’t assume that funds will be spent just as quickly as they are collected, unless the charity tells you otherwise.
Helping families directly. If you decide to contribute to a crowdfunding posting or a charity that is restricting donations to help a family, remember that such gifts restricted to help specific individual(s) are generally not deductible as charitable gifts for federal income tax purposes. See IRS Publication 526, page 7, for more on this.
New charity challenges. Be cautious about newly created charities in the wake of a disaster. Although they may have the best of intentions, they may not have the skills or connections to deliver assistance quickly. Ask if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the impacted area(s). See if the organization’s website describes how it will carry out its recovery efforts.
Visit Give.org. Donors can check out charities by visiting BBB’s Give.org to verify if the charity meets the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.
Video of the WeekFor this Video of the Week, we revisit a video interview with David Barringer, CEO, National Council of the U.S. Society of St. Vincent de Paul (a BBB Accredited Charity) which seeks to help millions of people each year through home visits, housing assistance, disaster relief, job training, food pantries, clothing, care for the elderly, and other charitable activities.
Heart of Giving PodcastIn this week’s Heart of Giving podcast, BBB WGA interviews Cherie Harder, the President of the Trinity Forum. The Trinity Forum (www.ttf.org) works to create forums to encourage and assist national leaders in applying their faith.
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.