Better Business Bureau offers advice to donors responding to Ukraine conflict – Newstalk KZRG

The recent Russian invasion and attack on Ukraine has created a potential refugee crisis as Ukrainians flee their homes. Better Business Bureau® (BBB®) reminds those who want to help relief efforts to check charities carefully before donating. Read their full press release below:

“Harrowing scenes of refugees from the conflict in Ukraine can inspire many to look for ways to help by donating time or money to help those in need,” said Michelle L. Corey, president and CEO of management of BBB St. Louis. “BBB reminds donors to ensure they donate to genuine non-profit organizations capable of delivering aid where it is needed. Advertising about wars and disasters is often used by scammers to solicit money that never reaches those who need it.

Many agencies stand ready to send help where it’s needed, but not all are endorsed by local BBBs or the Wise Giving Alliance, the international charitable arm of BBB.

BBB offers the following tips to help Americans decide where to direct donations:

  • Trust respected experts to evaluate a charity. Be careful when relying on recommendations from third parties such as bloggers or social media personalities, as they may not have fully researched the relief organizations listed. BBB Charity Reviews are available for over 11,000 charities, indicating whether a charity is BBB compliant 20 Charity Accountability Standards.

  • Beware of claims that 100% of donations help victims. All charities have fundraising and administration fees. Even a credit card donation will incur, at a minimum, a processing fee.

  • Be careful when donating to unknown charities online. Beware of spam and emails claiming to be related to a humanitarian organization. After the recent natural disasters, many websites and organizations created overnight supposedly to help the victims turned out to be scams.

  • Find out if the charity has a presence in the affected areas. Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to bring new aid workers to the area to provide assistance. Check to see if the charity’s website clearly outlines what it can do to meet the needs of victims.

  • Find out if the charity provides direct aid or raises funds for other groups. You may want to skip the middleman and donate directly to charities working in the area. Check end recipients of donations to ensure organizations are equipped to provide effective aid.

  • Gifts in the form of clothing, food or other in-kind donations may not be appropriate. Unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute this aid, donations can be more of a burden than a help. Ask the charity about its transportation and distribution plans. Beware of those who are inexperienced in helping refugees.

  • Be careful with crowdfunding. These sites do very little to verify people seeking funds after a disaster, and donors may not be able to verify whether the organization or person seeking funds is trustworthy.

  • Give, but give wisely. Go to BBB.org to get a BBB Charity Review or call 888-996-3887.

  • Can the charity travel to the affected area? Not all relief organizations will be able to provide relief quickly. See if the charity already has a presence in Ukraine.
  • Should we send clothes and food? Local campaigns to collect clothing and food to send overseas may not be practical as the logistics and timing to deliver and disperse these items will be difficult. Humanitarian organizations are better equipped to obtain what is needed, distribute it efficiently and avoid duplication of effort.
  • Does the charity meet BBB Charity standards? You can check the trustworthiness of a charity by looking at an assessment report written by BBB Wise Giving Alliance. See the list below of charities seeking humanitarian assistance for Ukraine and also responding to BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.
  • Does the charity have experience providing emergency relief? Charities experienced in disaster relief are the best bet to help deliver aid as soon as possible. New entrants may have difficulty keeping up even if they have the best intentions.
  • Are you considering crowdfunding calls? If you engage in crowdfunding, it’s safest to donate to someone you personally know and trust, and to review the platform’s policies regarding fees and distribution of funds raised. If the crowdfunding request is from a charity, check out the group by visiting Give.org. Keep in mind that some crowdfunding sites do very little vetting of the individuals or organizations that decide to post humanitarian aid. Sites that take security measures will usually provide descriptions of those procedures.
  • Does the appeal make exaggerated financial statements such as “100% will be spent on aid”. Charities have fundraising and administrative expenses. Any charity claiming otherwise risks misleading the public. Even a credit card donation will incur a processing fee.


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