As Russia launched its invasion into Ukraine, another movement mobilized — one of generosity and giving. Watchdogs offer advice before you donate money to the cause, so your gift has the most immediate impact.
“I encourage people to give with their heart but also give with their head,” said Kevin Scally with CharityNavigator.org. “By that, I mean to do some due diligence.”
To help your donation have maximum impact, he suggests giving to an organization with a proven track record.
“Look for an organization that has dealt with these situations before,” Scally said.
The needs of the refugees and people stuck in the war zone are great and immediate. To give effectively and expediently, the Better Business Bureau suggests asking questions of the nonprofit.
“Can they get to the affected area?” said BBB’s Jason Meza. “Not all groups are positioned to get relief quickly, so check to see if the charity already has a presence in Ukraine or surrounding countries.”
To maximize your dollars, ask how much is going to actual relief and the amount going to administrative costs. Financial responsibility and transparency are qualities to look for, according to Scally.
“You know, not just where your money is going, but what your money is doing,” he said.
Beware of scammers looking to take advantage of current events and your emotions. If you receive an email, phone call or social media post, even if it appears to be from a friend, you should independently verify it.
“They are engaging in tactics to duplicate profiles of people, maybe your friends, maybe people who live in Ukraine — creating fake profiles, fake appeals and asking for donations,” Meza said.
When you give, using a credit card can offer some fraud protection. Never give via gift cards, wire transfers or peer-to-peer banking apps.
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