Donating to Shooting Victims in Maine
At least 18 people have been killed and many others injured by a mass shooter in Lewiston, Maine. For those seeking to help the victims and families, the BBB offers the following tips to consider.
What should be considered in crowdfunding requests?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 you are unsure, review the posting procedures described on the crowdfunding site and find out about transaction fees and other specifics.
Does the solicitation respect the families of victims?As charitable organizations and/or crowdfunding posts raise funds to help, they should obtain permission from the families to use either the names of the victims and/or any photographs of them. Don’t assume there is an official connection if photos are displayed.
Is there a description of the use of donations?Be cautious about vague appeals that don’t identify the intended use of funds. For example, is money being collected for funeral expenses or other family needs? Also, unless told otherwise, donors will assume that contributed funds quickly collected after a tragedy will be distributed or spent just as quickly. Be mindful of public announcements that describe family assistance to help avoid donating to duplicative efforts.
Are donations tax deductible?specific individual/family are not deductible in the U.S. as charitable donations, even if the recipient organization is a charity. See IRS Publication 526, page 7, for more information on this subject.Contributions that are donor-restricted to help a
How can you verify a charity’s accountability?BBB Standards for Charity Accountability (i.e., a BBB Accredited Charity). Be cautious about newly created groups that will be difficult to check out.
ABOUT BBB WISE GIVING ALLIANCE: BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB’s Give.org) is a standards-based charity evaluator that seeks to verify the trustworthiness of nationally soliciting charities by completing rigorous evaluations based on 20 holistic standards that address charity governance, results reporting, finances, fundraising, appeal accuracy and other issues. National charity reports are produced by BBB’s Give.org and local charity reports are produced by local Better Business Bureaus – all reports are available at Give.org.