The stories coming from the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal after Saturday’s massive earthquake are heart-rending. If you’re like many Americans, you want to help the victims — and the need is desperate. But with so many aid organizations requesting donations — some of them phony — it can be difficult to figure out where you should send your money.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, some fraudsters take advantage of people’s generosity with phony charities. And some relief organizations aren’t forthcoming with how your donation will be used (eg. helping earthquake victims versus padding the organization’s general fund).
Here are some tips from the FTC on how you can avoid shady relief organizations:
- Only donate to charities you know and trust. Just because you see an organization on a social media site doesn’t mean it’s legit.
- Beware of any “charitable organizations” that seem to have materialized out of thin air. You can research an aid organization at the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Watch, Charity Navigator or GuideStar, the FTC said.
- If you want to ensure that your donation goes to a specific relief effort, like helping the Nepalese earthquake victims, make sure you specify that, or your donation could end up going in an aid organization’s general fund instead.
For more tips on avoiding a charity scam, click here.
Of course, there are many reputable aid organizations that are helping the earthquake victims in Nepal. If you don’t have time to research a charity, here are some humanitarian aid groups that have track records you can rely on:
- Doctors Without Borders. Also known as Medecins Sans Frontieres, this international medical humanitarian organization is on the ground in Nepal, with plans to send more supplies and personnel. MSF was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1999 for its humanitarian work around the world. Donate here.
- World Vision. In its initial phase, the aid organization aims to help 100,000 people with relief supplies, including tarps, blankets, hygiene kits, cooking kits, mosquito nets, sleeping bags and water purification tablets. Donate here.
- World Food Program. The U.N. World Food Program is gathering donations to help provide food to 1.4 million people in Nepal. Donate here.
- Oxfam. The humanitarian organization is providing supplies for clean water, sanitation and emergency food supplies in Nepal. Donate here.
Do you have a favorite charity organization that you trust? Have you donated to relief efforts in Nepal? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page. And share this article with your Facebook network.