With images of the Russia-Ukraine conflict pulling at our heartstrings, people here in Connecticut want to help.
But how do you know your donation is going to good use?
Before you type in your credit card number and click send, there are some questions you'll want to get answered first.
The Better Business Bureau has created a list of tips for people looking to donate.
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“Obviously if you care enough to donate to the cause, you want to make sure that your money is going to the people who need your help the most,” said BBB Serving Connecticut Communications Director Kristen Johnson.
The BBB said you want to make sure you ask these questions before you donate:
- Does the charity already have a presence in Ukraine? If not, BBB said they might not be in a position to provide relief quickly.
- Does the charity have experience providing emergency relief?
- How do they plan on spending your money?
- What percentage of your donation will go to relief efforts?
BBB CT said you shouldn't fall for exaggerated claims that every penny you donate will be spent on relief.
“It should be a red flag if they say 100% of your donation will go to the cause because every charity has administrative fees. Even the credit card you use to make that donation will have a processing fee, so you want to make sure you’re being clear on how your money is being spent,” said Johnson.
The BBB did some homework for us, creating a list of 20 charities helping the people of Ukraine that meet its standards.
The department also reminds folks to be weary if someone asks you to give money via wire transfer, prepaid card or another type of untraceable payment, a telltale sign of a scam.
And, the DCP said to never feel pressured to give on the spot no matter the emotional appeal.
“We haven’t gotten any reports of specific scams in CT, but that doesn’t mean that that’s not happening because we know from previous experience whenever there’s a national disaster or an international crisis, that’s when the scammers come out,” said Johnson.
She said that's why you need to do your due diligence because if you’re duped by a bad actor, not only will the money not go to helping those in peril, you’ll probably never get your cash back either.
Should you send clothing and food? Here’s the BBB’s take:
“Local drives to collect clothing and food to send overseas may not be practical as the logistics and timing to deliver and disperse such items will be challenging. Relief organizations are better equipped to obtain what is needed, distribute it effectively and avoid duplication of effort.”
As for crowdfunding appeals, it said:
“If engaging in crowdfunding, it is safest to give to someone you personally know and trust, and review the platform’s policies regarding fees and distribution of collected funds. If the crowdfunding request is from a charity, check out the group by visiting give.org. Keep in mind that some crowdfunding sites do very little vetting of individuals or organizations that decide to post for relief assistance. Sites that take security measures will usually provide descriptions of these procedures.”