Do Your Research Before Making Donations for Haiti

Posted on Wed,  Jan. 13, 2010

Reported by Megan Strader

FOX Kansas News


By the time John Thompson logged onto his Twitter account, Wednesday morning, thousands of messages had already popped up telling him how he can donate to help the people of Haiti.

“It didn’t really dawn on me until maybe midday and I thought ‘gosh, is anyone really verifying these messages are legitimate and the money people donate is that really going to go to the people in Haiti and is it going to be efficiently spent?’”

A majority of the “tweets” give people a number where they send a text and automatically donate a set amount of cash, the most popular being the Red Cross.  A local spokesman confirms it’s “text to help” program is not only legit but has been used for more than two years now.

“It is an official way to donate so people can be rest assured that this money is going to be helping Haitians.”

But a quick search on twitter shows at least six different organizations giving six different numbers to text to. The Better Business Bureau says if you do want donate, the best way to keep from getting scammed is to stick with organizations you’ve heard of.

The Better Business Bureau has also compiled a list of approved organizations they’ve verified are collecting money to go to Haiti, some of them through text message campaigns. Click here to see that list.

They warn about trusting the amount of people on places like Twitter and Facebook suggesting different donation methods.

Something Thompson says he’s well aware of. ”People respond quickly and they want to do a good thing and so they just “retweet” these messages without necessarily knowing what the source was.”

It’s also important to know exactly where the money is going, even with well known charities. Money sent to the Red Cross through their text program goes into its international fund.

That money is being used for Haiti, but if you want to guarantee your donation will be used for earthquake relief you should send a check with Haiti written in the memo.

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