Yep. The lowlife scum are out trolling for your dollars again, and using tragedy and your general goodness to line their own pockets.
Jackasses. Poke them with spoons!
This is why I’m a big fan of picking a charity and building a relationship with them. That way, you know they’re legit and you have an address all ready to send your money to when Something Happens.
(I also firmly believe in giving money to charity Just Because It’s Payday, but that’s a whole ‘nother post).
The Federal Trade Commission has a checklist to help you decide if a charity’s legit, especially if it’s a telemarketed or stop-you-on-the-street charity.
* Ask for the name of the charity if the telemarketer does not provide it promptly;
* Ask what percentage of your donation will support the cause described in the solicitation;
* Verify that the charity has authorized the solicitation;
* Do not provide any credit card or bank information until you have reviewed all information from the charity and made the decision to donate;
* Ask for a receipt showing the amount of the contribution and stating that it is tax deductible; and
* Avoid cash gifts. For security and tax record purposes, it’s best to pay by check – made payable to the beneficiary, not the solicitor.
My disaster relief charity of choice is Episcopal Relief and Development, but I know some people have issues with donating to a religious organization*, so I recommend Mercy Corps, which is not affiliated with any religion.
*even one run by my ever-so-fluffy and inclusive church, I mean, hell, they not only let me join, they elected me to represent them at Diocesan Convention!