SOURCE: GuideStar USA, Inc.

GuideStar USA, Inc.

January 14, 2010 14:16 ET

GuideStar's Tips for Giving Wisely to Haitian Relief

You Can Be Generous and Protect Yourself From Scams

WASHINGTON, DC and WILLIAMSBURG, VA--(Marketwire - January 14, 2010) - GuideStar, the leading source of nonprofit information, offers these suggestions to donors who want to give to Haitian relief with their heads as well as their hearts:

1. Be pro-active, not re-active.

It's not necessary or wise to respond to every call or request. Instead, follow the steps below to give wisely.

2. Determine what kind of relief you want to support.

What are your values and priorities? What matters to you? "Disaster relief" has many faces -- emergency housing, provision of potable water, medical assistance, feeding the hungry, sending in search and rescue teams. Decide which one(s) you want to give to.

3. Do a little research.

Use a reputable source, such as GuideStar, or one our partners, such as Network for Good or JustGive, to identify charities doing the work you want to support. All of the charities listed on these sites are legitimate organizations recognized by the IRS, and you can contribute directly from the sites.

If you already have an organization in mind and are familiar with its Web site, you can do your research there. Be careful, however, if you haven't been to the site before or don't know the organization well. Con artists often post bogus Web sites and run scam donation campaigns immediately after a disaster. If you aren't already familiar with a relief organization's site, protect yourself by linking to it from a trusted site such as GuideStar, Network for Good, or JustGive. Avoid new Web sites and links provided in e-mails. And don't text your donation unless you're very sure that you're texting a legitimate organization.

4. Ask questions.

--  Does the charity have experience working in disaster relief and in
    particular Haiti?
    Time is of the essence -- lives are at risk, so you want to give to
    organizations that have the ability to get relief where it needs to go
    quickly and efficiently.
--  How does the charity describe its mission and programs? Its
    accomplishments?
    Do the programs support the mission? Does the charity use concrete
    measurements to evaluate its accomplishments?
--  How do people who have firsthand experience with the charity evaluate
    its services?
    Check GuideStar or our partner GreatNonprofits
    (http://www.greatnonprofits.org) for reviews.
    

5. Consider making another gift in a few weeks or months.

"Disaster relief" is a long-term process, as we've seen in the aftermath of the December 26, 2004, tsunamis and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

About GuideStar

GuideStar, www.guidestar.org, connects people and organizations with information on the programs and finances of more than 1.8 million IRS-recognized nonprofits. GuideStar serves a wide audience inside and outside the nonprofit sector, including individual donors, nonprofit leaders, grantmakers, government officials, academic researchers, and the media.

Contact Information

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