Vet your charity before you give

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Hurricane Florence has hit landfall, And we all know that heavy rain and high winds are so destructive. Naturally, folks not directly impacted do have the urge to help however they can, but you don't want to become a victim yourself.

If you plan on chipping in to help out those in need, make sure your donations are getting into the right hands, not the hands of scammers, because, folks, they will be out. They always are after natural disasters like a hurricane. They know your heartstrings are going to be tugged when you see the pictures of families in peril. So, I'm going to give you a lot of lists. And let's start here with signs that a charity is less into giving than it is taking.

Cash or Wired Money - No, thank you.
Pressure to Donate - Walk away.
Sketchy Status - Pass.
Similar Name to Well-Known Charity - Be suspicious.

This is what you do next. Use one of these resources to vet the charity.  

1. Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance
2. Charity Navigator   
3. GuideStar

These are well-respected resources. You can pop in the name of the charity you're considering giving to and these sources will let you know if it's met traditional standards or not. If it's a a group they've not heard of, they'll let you know. So do some due diligence. 

I know that some people prefer to give things rather than money. That's a bad idea. Too many people send things that aren't needed. For example: lamps, evening gowns, winter coats. This ends up on runways, has to be stored in warehouses and it takes manpower to do this. Please, just give money to reputable charities. They will find out what's needed - like bottled water and baby formula - and deliver it themselves.