Recent events within the small town of Sandy Hook, CT have struck the hearts and souls of many Americans and others around the world. For some making a donation is all they can do, it provides some personal relief that they are helping when help is truly needed.
Unfortunately just like we saw after 911 there are those who would seek to profit from this horrific tragedy. They pray on those who are blinded by emotion, those that are utterly at a loss and wish to help. They set up “Donation” pages and “Contribution funds” that appear at face value to be very legitimate. People trust the money finds those who need it most, in this case the family members who lost loved ones on December 14th during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
So how do you know when you are donating that your money is going where it’s supposed to?
Here are a few things you should know BEFORE donating.
1) You have Donor Rights, if your donating money there is certain information you are entitled to from non-profits, like where the money is going? You can see the entire “Donor Bill of Rights” here.
2) If you are donating to someone other than a registered charity –BE-CAREFUL! Donations of this kind are very risky. Funds donated may or may not get to those you are trying to help. This type of donation may be set up on Facebook or sites like EverRibbon.com which allow individual users or groups to create pages funneling donations for specific causes. There are quite a few sites that offer this service however many have zero checks and balances regarding the money that is donated. In most cases the money is deposited into the bank account of whoever created the account. It is for that reason you should use extra caution and really do your homework prior to donating with an unregistered charity.
3) Get a receipt – This goes without saying and is necessary for documenting your donation for tax purposes. Paper trails are good.
4) If you receive an email solicitation use caution. Do not respond to unsolicited email regarding donations. Remember everything is not always as it seems online.
5) If possible try to always donate directly to the organization. This is not always possible but does help ensure you are dealing with a legitimate source and not a phony trying to impersonate or act fraudulently on their behalf.
Helping those in times of need brings communities, town, cities and even people around the world closer together. It is a wonderful side of humanity to give of themselves and we as a company strongly encourage this.