Helping Flood Victims in Kentucky and Missouri
The recent flooding that has devastated eastern Kentucky and the St. Louis area of Missouri will prompt many to help those in need. BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers the following advice to help donors make informed giving decisions.
See if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the impacted areas . Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to bring in new aid workers to provide assistance quickly. See if the charity’s website clearly describes what the charity can do to address immediate needs.
Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups . Some charities may be raising money to pass along to relief organizations. If so, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and giving directly to those that have a presence in the region. Or, at a minimum, check out the ultimate recipients of these donations to see whether they are equipped to provide aid effectively.
Be Cautious about gifts of clothing, food, or other in-kind donations . In-kind drives for food and clothing, while well intentioned, may not necessarily be the quickest way to help those in need – unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid properly. Ask the charity about its transportation and distribution plans. Be wary of those who are not experienced in disaster relief assistance.
Understand crowdfunding. Crowdfunding has become so popular that it is not unusual for fundraising to start within hours after a tragedy has occurred. Please keep in mind that while some crowdfunding sites take precautions in carefully screening, vetting, and managing postings after a tragedy, others might not. If unsure, review the posting procedures described on the crowdfunding site and also find out about transaction fees and other specifics.
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 currently raising funds for assistance efforts in flood relief. Additional groups will be added as they come to our attention.