People are looking for ways to help those in need as Gaylord works to recover from the damage caused by an EF3 tornado over the weekend.
The Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan encourages those looking to make donations to only give to reputable sources.
“Only donate to charities and fundraisers put on by organizations you know and trust,” says Lisa Frohnapfel, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan. “Make sure the charity or organization actually has the means to provide relief to the community, in order to avoid scammers looking to take advantage of the situation.”
The BBB suggests starting with these well-known charities to provide assistance:
Otsego County United Way American Red Cross-Michigan Region
Crowdfunding campaigns are already being set up for those in need. While some may be drawn to providing direct assistance to individuals, BBB Wise Giving Alliance recommends the following tips:
Give to people and organizations you know. It is safest to give to crowdfunding postings of people you personally know. If that is not possible, consider a posting that is being managed by an established charitable organization that can be checked out.
Not all crowdfunding sites operate alike. Some crowdfunding platforms do a better job of vetting postings and projects that appear on their site than others. Review the site’s description of its procedures. If they do take precautions, they generally announce that fact loudly to help encourage giving. According to GoFundMe (An Accredited Business), their Trust & Safety specialists are monitoring the platform around the clock for any fundraisers related to this event and will ensure that all donations are safely routed to the correct beneficiaries.
See if the posting describes how funds will be used. Vague descriptions of how the collected funds will be used should also be met with caution. Thoughtful collections will take the added step of identifying and verifying needs before the money is raised.
Don’t assume pictures represent an official connection to the person or family identified. Unfortunately, some crowdfunding postings may be using pictures of needy individuals without their permission. As a result, you can’t assume an official connection. Again, each site has different rules on what they allow.