BBB offers tips on donating to assist Ukraine relief efforts

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine has begun, concerns grow about current and potential emergency needs of the Ukrainian people. Generous donors want to help by supporting charities that are raising funds for assistance. BBB Wise Giving Alliance certainly encourages generosity to help the people in Ukraine but cautions donors to avoid questionable appeals by keeping the following tips in mind.

Can the charity get to the impacted area? Not all relief organizations will be positioned to provide relief quickly. See if the charity already has a presence in Ukraine.

Should you send clothing and food? 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.

Does the relief charity meet BBB Charity Standards? You can verify a charity’s trustworthiness by viewing an evaluative report completed by BBB Wise Giving Alliance.

Is the charity experienced in providing emergency relief? Experienced disaster relief charities are the best bet to help deliver aid as soon as possible. New entrants may have difficulty in following through even if they have the best of intentions.

Are you considering crowdfunding appeals? 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.

Does the appeal make exaggerated financial claims such as “100 percent will be spent on relief?” Charities have fundraising and administrative expenses. Any charity claiming otherwise is potentially misleading the donating public. Even a credit card donation will have a processing fee.

About the Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. Most BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. There are over 100 local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico. BBB of Northeast California was founded in 1937 and serves 24 counties throughout the region. Visit bbb.org for more information.