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As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, concerns grow about current and potential emergency needs of the Ukraine people. Generous donors want to help by supporting charities that are raising funds for assistance. BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers the following tips for donors to consider along with a list of BBB Accredited Charities that have announced Ukraine-related activities or plans on their websites.
“We certainly encourage generosity to help the people in Ukraine,” said Art Taylor, president & CEO BBB Wise Giving Alliance. “But we caution donors to avoid questionable appeals by keeping the following tips in mind.”
- Can the charity get to the impacted area? Not all relief organizations will be positioned to provide relief quickly. See if the charity already has a presence in Ukraine.
- Should you send clothing and food? Local drives to collect clothing and food to send overseas may not be practical as the logistics and timing to deliver and disperse such items will be challenging. Relief organizations are better equipped to obtain what is needed, distribute it effectively and avoid duplication of effort.
- Does the relief charity meet BBB Charity Standards? You can verify a charity’s trustworthiness by viewing an evaluative report completed by BBB Wise Giving Alliance. See the list provided below of charities that that are soliciting for relief assistance for Ukraine and that also meet the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.
- Is the charity experienced in providing emergency relief? Experienced disaster relief charities are the best bet to help deliver aid as soon as possible. New entrants may have difficulty in following through even if they have the best of intentions.
- Are you considering crowdfunding appeals? If engaging in crowdfunding, it is safest to give to someone you personally know and trust, and review the platform’s policies regarding fees and distribution of collected funds. 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 individuals or organizations that decide to post for relief assistance. Sites that take security measures will usually provide descriptions of these procedures.
- Does the appeal make exaggerated financial claims such as “100% will be spent on relief?” Charities have fundraising and administrative expenses. Any charity claiming otherwise is potentially misleading the donating public. Even a credit card donation will have a processing fee.
The following nationally soliciting charities are BBB Accredited (i.e., they meet the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability). Their respective websites indicate that they are either currently raising funds for assistance efforts in Ukraine or preparing for needs that could arise if conflict results in population displacement.
About the BBB serving Central Virginia: BBB serving Central Virginia serves Richmond, the Tri-Cities, Charlottesville, and Fredericksburg, as well as 42 surrounding counties from Fauquier to Mecklenburg and Northumberland to Amherst. The nonprofit organization was established in 1954 to advance responsible, honest, and ethical business practices and to promote customer confidence through self-regulation of business. Core services of BBB include business profiles, dispute resolution, truth-in advertising, scam warnings, consumer and business education, and charity review.
Image courtesy of Catholic Relief Services; Peter Reynolds illustration.
For more from BBB, read Fraud Watch in RFM.