'Be wary': BBB offers tips for those donating for Hurricane Ida Relief

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Better Business Bureau (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance is offering tips for those looking to donate for the Hurricane Ida Relief.

Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana with winds of 150 miles per hour on Sunday, Aug. 29. The Category 4 storm is one of the strongest to impact the area and relief organizations are beginning to solicit for support to help those in need. 

BBB offers the following tips: 

Donate to experienced groups

BBB says support experienced organizations that stand ready to provide and quick and effective assistance. BBB warns to be cautious of organizations that form overnight in the wake of a disaster.

Look for appeal clarity

BBB says to seek out appeals that are upfront and clear about what disaster relief services you are supporting.

Be wary of 100 percent claims

BBB says to watch out for claims that 100% of donations will assist relief victims. Officials say the organization is probably still incurring administrative and fundraising expenses, even if it is using other funds to cover these costs.

Give money rather than goods

BBB says the quickest way to help is to donate money and it will provide charities the flexibility to channel resources to impacted areas.

Verify trustworthiness

Rely on expert opinion when it comes to evaluating a charity. BBB recommends giving to charities that meet all 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.

Understanding crowdfunding

If engaging in crowdfunding, BBB says to give to someone you know and trust, and review the platform's policies and procedures. 

Crowdfunding sites operate differently, according to BBB, some crowdfunding sites do very little vetting of individuals who decide to post for assistance after a disaster. If a charitable organization is posting for support on a crowdfunding site, BBB says to consider going to the charity's website directly.

Identify celebrity fundraising plans

BBB warns before donating to a celebrity's fundraising effort, look beyond the fame and see if they identify plans for the intended use of funds or whether they are collaborating with a well-established charity. 

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