What to Know About Charity Scams When Donating to Ukraine

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, many people are looking to help out in any way they can. For a lot of us, that involves wanting to donate money or other items to be sent to Ukraine through a charity or crowdfunding program. The Better Business Bureau of Western Michigan wants to remind you to watch out for crowdfunding and other charity scams.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when donating to Ukraine:

  • 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.  Click here to see the list provided below of charities that that are soliciting for relief assistance for Ukraine and that also meet the BBB standards for charity accountability.
  • 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. You should also 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% 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.

We spoke to The Better Business Bureau of Western Michigan today. Be sure to check out our live interview with them below for even more tips.



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