The earth shakes and we once again hold our breath. While we are counting our blessings that Mother Earth has saved us from her wrath, we are counting our spare dollars to send them to our Haitian brothers and sisters who were not as lucky. But our dollars are worth more, and can help more, when we choose the right organization for our donation.
So, how do we choose?
First, you want to select an organization that is well-established. Experience in the charity field goes a long way when help is needed fast. An organization, like the Red Cross, which has been around for many years, has a well-built infrastructure of staff and processes in order to get your money where it is needed quickly. Your dollars are not stretched out as well when you give them to new, start-up organizations that have higher overhead expenses.
Second, choose a large organization over a small one. Charitable organizations that are large have outposts throughout the world manned by staff and volunteers who know exactly what is needed and how to get their hands on it. These organizations are more likely to have the funds readily accessible and low negotiated rates with international shipping vendors, to send shipments of food, water and medical supplies quickly while keeping costs as low as possible. Smaller organizations that donít have a huge staff to call upon in a disaster simply canít hit the ground running the way large organizations can.
Third (and this goes almost without saying), the organization you choose has got to be legitimate. It is unfathomable, but there are many deplorable people who will use the tragedy in Haiti to attempt to scam you for your ďdonations.Ē Be sure before you give a dime that the organization you are giving to is a legitimate non-profit organization.
The best way is to check out charitable organizations on Charity Navigator or the Better Business Bureau website for legitimacy. Never click an e-mail link to a charity claiming to be helping the Haitian earthquake victims, unless it is from a trusted source. And never click on an attachment from such an e-mail Ė it is almost always a virus. For all-around safety, I would never make donations as a result of an e-mail at all.
Mobile giving, charitable donations made by calling or texting a legitimate number, is the new wave of charitable giving. It couldnít be faster, so particularly in times of great tragedies like the Haiti earthquake, itís often the fastest way to get your money into good hands. It also couldnít be easier. The American Red Cross has already raised more than $4 million through mobile giving alone. But again, donít dial just any number. Be sure to check the number out for legitimacy first.
Give what you can, give as much as you can. Just remember to always give to the right organizations.
American Red Cross
World Food Programme
White House Haiti Earthquake Relief
Charity Navigatorís List of Legitimate Charities Collecting for the Haiti Earthquake
Better Business Bureau
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