(KFVS) - Wildfires have spread destruction across Australia in recent weeks.
Better Business Bureau officials said this has prompted calls for donations to help victims.
Before you donate, carefully check out charities.
Many agencies are ready to send help where it’s needed.
Not all of those are vetted by local BBBs or the Wise Giving Alliance, BBB’s international charity arm.
BBB offers the following tips to help Americans decide where to direct donations:
- Be cautious when relying on third-party recommendations. BBB Charity Reviews are available for more than 11,000 charities, indicating whether a charity complies with BBB’s 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.
- All charities have fundraising and administrative costs. Even a credit card donation will involve, at a minimum, a processing fee.
- Be wary of spam messages and emails that claim to link to a relief organization. After recent natural disasters, many websites and organizations that were created overnight allegedly to help victims turned out to be scams.
- Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to get new aid workers into the area to provide assistance. See if the charity’s website clearly describes what they can do to address victims’ needs.
- You may want to avoid the middleman and give directly to charities that are working in the region. Check out the ultimate recipients of the donations to ensure that the organizations are equipped to effectively provide aid.
- Unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid, the donations may be more of a burden than a help. Ask the charity about their transportation and distribution plans. Be wary of those who are not experienced in refugee relief.
- These sites do very little to check out the individuals seeking funds after a disaster, and donors may not be able to verify whether the organization or individual seeking funds is trustworthy.
- Give, but give wisely. Go to bbb.org to get a BBB Charity Review or call 888-996-3887.