Oil Spill Recovery: Tips for Donors

By Gray Hall - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Usually when disasters strike many people are willing to send money to help out. In the wake of the Gulf Oil Spill Disaster charities along with the Better Business Bureau want to remind people don't be fooled by fraudulent charities.

Organizations like the Federal Trade Commission say anytime there is a situation where people will likely donate large amounts of money you can almost bet crooks are looking for ways to take advantage of your generosity. The experts say before you write that check, take some time and do your homework. Charities like the Red Cross say it's a common problem anytime there is a major disaster.

"The onus is really on the donor to do a little extra leg work to make sure you don't have a knee jerk reaction and just automatically believe I need to give money because this person called, you should depend on credible organizations," said CEO of the Greater Richmond Chapter Reggie Gordon.

While the Red Cross is not taking donations for the oil spill disaster, it suggests people wanting to help, visit sites like the BBB for a list of credible organizations.

"If you send a check make sure you get a receipt, if you go online, get a receipt, you want to protect yourself and feel good your donation," said Gordon.

The BBB say donors should consider the following when giving money: Beware of the well intentioned but inexperienced organizations, understand where your money is going, rely on expert opinion when it comes to evaluating a charity and find out if the charity is doing Gulf related work or raising funds for other Gulf relief organizations.

"For those of us in the business of looking for funds to support or operations it is very frustrating that there are those out there who take advantage of the generosity of the kind hearted people," Gordon said.

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