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Charity Navigator - Your Guide to Intelligent Giving
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Help Tsunami Victims
December 28, 2004

The December 26th tsunami in southern Asia caused billions of dollars in damage, killed tens of thousands, and left many people homeless and hungry. Charities are scrambling to help the victims in multiple countries - no simple, or inexpensive, task. As they begin to repair the destruction and aid the victims, charities need an infusion of donations to be able to effectively deal with this crisis.

Charity Navigator offers the following tips to help you give with confidence to trustworthy charities helping the victims of this devastating catastrophe.

1. Give To An Established Charity: Don't let an unscrupulous charity take advantage of your goodwill. Find a charity with a proven track record of success with dealing with this region and this type of disaster. Avoid fly-by-night charities created specifically to deal with tsunami relief efforts. Even well-meaning new organizations will not have the infrastructure and knowledge of the region to efficiently maximize your gift. If you do feel compelled to give to a new charity, be sure to get proof that the group is in fact a registered public charity with 501 (c) (3) status.

2. Designate Your Gift: Worried that your donation will go towards the charity's general operating fund or saved for an upcoming crisis? This is a very understandable concern. Many charities do encourage donors not to designate their gifts so that the charity can decide how best to utilize the money, but depending on your confidence in the charity's ability to make that determination, you may want to tell the charity exactly how to use your gift. By designating your gift specifically for quake-tsunami international relief efforts, you'll ensure that your donation will be used for the victims of this particular disaster.

3. Avoid Telemarketers: Be wary of fundraisers who pressure you to make a contribution over the phone. Never divulge your credit card information to someone soliciting you via the phone. Instead, ask the fundraiser to send you written information about the charity they represent and do some research on your own. Once you feel comfortable with the charity, send the organization a check directly in the mail, or give through their website, thus ensuring 100% of your gift goes to the charity and not the for-profit fundraiser.
Read Charity Navigator's Guide to Handling Telephone Appeals

4. Research And Follow Up: As always, take the time to find a charity you can trust. Charity Navigator offers this list of top charities working in the wake of the tsunami catastrophe to help you in your efforts. Use our free financial evaluations to search for other well-run charities worthy of your support. And be sure to follow up with the charity in a few months to find out (a) how your donation was put to use and (b) if they need additional support to complete the recovery efforts.

  1. Action Against Hunger- USA
  2. American Jewish World Service
  3. American Red Cross  
  4. AmeriCares
  5. CARE
  6. Catholic Medical Mission Board
  7. Compassion International
  8. Concern Worldwide US
  9. Direct Relief International
  10. Doctors Without Borders, USA
  11. Feed the Children
  12. HOPE Worldwide
  13. Islamic Relief
  14. Lutheran World Relief
  15. MAP International
  16. Mercy Corps
  17. Operation Blessing International
  18. Operation USA
  19. Oxfam America
  20. Samaritan's Purse
  21. Save the Children
  22. United States Fund for UNICEF

Related Information:

Make a Donation to Help Tsunami Victims (Link: Network For Good)

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