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Tips for Safe Charitable Giving in Response to Earthquakes in Chile and Haiti
Date:3/1/2010

ST. PAUL, Minn., March 1 /PRNewswire/ -- The impact of Chile's 8.8 magnitude earthquake on Saturday and the ongoing devastation from Haiti's earthquake continues to yield tragic loss of lives, thousands of missing people and widespread destruction in affected areas.

The Charities Review Council offers the following tips on smart giving during disasters and how to exercise caution when responding to disaster-relief appeals:

  • Types of support:  The best assistance is a financial donation to a relief organization already operating in the affected area.  DO NOT send goods to an organization unless specifically requested.
  • When researching where to send a gift, consider the following:
    • Is the organization legitimate? If an organization is calling you, be wary.  Established disaster-relief organizations are often too busy to implement a phone campaign during times of disaster.  Don't be afraid to say "no" over the phone and then contact the organization directly yourself.
    • Are you confident the organization has the infrastructure and capacity to put your donation to good use?
    • Check out organizations at the Charities Review Council online Giving Guide at http://www.smartgivers.org/GivingGuide.
  • Texting-to-Give:  Before picking up a phone to donate, here's what you need to know.
    • Text-to-give is a convenient and quick way to donate to a charity. Donors text a keyword to a short code and a pre-determined charge is added to their phone bill.
    • Note that since the donation is collected through the cell phone billing cycle it can take up to 90 days before the intended charity receives the donation.
    • Make sure you give to an organization that you trust. Visit the Charities Review Council online at http://www.smartgivers.org/GivingGuide to access charity reviews quickly and easily.
    • A list of organizations providing disaster relief in response to the Chile and Haiti earthquakes is also available and will be continually updated.
  • How would you like your donation to be spent? Would you like your gift to focus on immediate needs such as feeding the hungry or providing medical assistance, or meeting long term needs like establishing infrastructure?
  • Don't be swayed by emotional or high-pressure solicitations with little or no substance.  Don't make a donation to an unknown charity over the telephone or via an e-mail request, especially if it pressures you to give immediately, or refuses to send information unless you make a pledge.  Verify organizations by visiting the Charities Review Council online Giving Guide at http://www.smartgivers.org/GivingGuide.
  • How do you protect yourself from fraud?  Always pay by check or credit card, NEVER with cash.  Cash can be lost or stolen.  Do not provide your credit card number unless you know the charity and you initiate the contact.
  • Is the organization accountable to its donors?  Don't hesitate to ask for written information about programming and financial activity.  Research that information on the organization's Website or contact the Charities Review Council at www.SmartGivers.org or (651) 224-7030.
  • Find out whether your contribution is tax-deductible:  Ask the organization if it is a 501(c)3 charitable organization.  Gifts to 501(c)3 organizations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Obtain receipts if you plan to claim a tax deduction.

About The Charities Review Council:

The Charities Review Council's mission is to mobilize informed donors and accountable nonprofits to advance the greater good.  The Council is an independent resource for people who support charities with financial donations.  It is dedicated to empowering donors in making informed and thoughtful giving decisions, so that they can be more effective in helping charities advance their important community work.  For more information, visit the Charities Review Council online at www.smartgivers.org, or call (651) 224-7030 or toll-free 1-800-733-GIVE.

Content from this release is available on the Charities Review Council's website here.

SOURCE Charities Review Council

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