Top 5 mistakes to avoid in donating to Typhoon Haiyan relief

Better Business Bureau warns of questionable solicitors in the wake of natural disaster in the Philippines.

Typhoon Haiyan.

As the public’s attention and hearts are focused on the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan, Better Business Bureau serving Mainland British Columbia advises donors to take steps to avoid being taken by questionable solicitors or wasting their money on poorly managed relief efforts.

The powerful typhoon that hit the Philippines over the weekend has had more than 10,000 casualties, according to the authorities.

“Often our first instinct is to donate money to help victims in these tragedies, but Canadians really need to take a step back and really know where and how their money and donations will be used,” said Danielle Primrose, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Mainland B.C.

The Better Business Bureau offers the following five tips to help Canadians decide where to direct donations:

• Mistake #1: Making a donation decision based solely on the charity’s name

Charities ranging from well-known emergency relief organizations to organizations experienced in reconstruction will likely be soliciting for various relief assistance efforts. Make sure the appeal specifies how the charity will help. If it does not, visit the charity’s website. Also, watch out for charity names that include the name of the disaster – it could be a start-up group with little experience or a questionable effort seeking to gain confidence through its title.

• Mistake #2: Collecting clothing and goods without verifying that the items can be used.

Unless you have verified that a charity is in need of specific items and has a distribution plan in place, collecting clothing, food and other goods may end up being a wasted effort. Relief organizations often prefer to purchase goods near the location of the disaster to help speed delivery and avoid expensive long distance freight costs. Also, sending non-essential items may actually slow down the charity’s ability to address urgent needs.

• Mistake #3: Sending donation to inexperienced relief efforts

Good intentions alone are not enough to carry out relief activities effectively. If the charity has not previously been involved in disaster relief, or does not have experience in assisting the overseas nation(s) that have been impacted, this likely will hamper their ability to work well in the affected areas.

• Mistake #4: Responding to online and social media appeals without checking

Don’t let your guard down just because the appeal is online. Don’t assume that since a third-party blog, website or friend recommended a relief charity that it has been thoroughly vetted. Check out the charity’s website on your own.

• Mistake #5: Donating without doing your homework

Find out if a charity meets recognized accountability standards. If you want assurance that the charity is transparent, accountable, and well managed, see if it meets the BBB Wise Giving Alliance’s 20 “Standards for Charity Accountability” by visiting give.org. The public can go to the Canadian Revenue Agency (www.cra.gc.ca/donors) to research charities and relief organizations to verify their accountability.

For more tips you can trust, visit www.mbc.bbb.org

 

Just Posted

RCMP investigate two shootings in Surrey

Incidents happened in Whalley, Newton

Surrey Board of Trade fears SkyTrain expansion will impede other transit needs

‘We need transit improvements in all of Surrey,’ Anita Huberman says

Cloverdale’s 5 most-read stories of the week, July 12–19

Mayor dissolves public safety committee, Surrey killer foiled by bar ID check, and more

Surrey RCMP, firefighters support Cloverdale boy’s lonely lemonade stand

Parker, 7, had few takers until Surrey first responders heard his call

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

UPDATE: One dead after house fire in rural Maple Ridge

Dewdney Trunk Road closed, traffic being re-routed

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

Highway 1 closed near Revelstoke

No estimated time for opening

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Most Read