Hurricane Harvey: Facebook, Google and other firms lend a helping hand

For more information about avoiding scammers when donating, see below.


Schmidt also said the Gulf needs support, but too many people could get in the way of relief efforts. A charity will be happy to take your donation today, tomorrow, or next week.

You may report charitable solicitation fraud to the Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs and the Office of the Attorney General by calling 804-786-1343; online at; or by mail to Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs, P.O. Box 1163, Richmond VA 23218.

Philanthropy experts say Mr. Blaney’s experience is fairly common.

Requests for help on crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe may not be legitimate, according to the Better Business Bureau, which has concerns about some new charities that are popping up.

See if a rescue group has an on-the-ground presence.

Designate the disaster so you can ensure your funds are going to disaster relief, rather than a general fund. Google launched an “SOS alert” for the hurricane, which features news, a crisis map and other resources for people impacted by the storm.

How much of the donation will be used for administrative costs?

As a result, don’t assume that a site or post about a suffering family is legitimate, he says.

They say to be sure to donate to recognized charities and to be wary of charities similar to known organizations.

“We have such a caring community in San Diego County that wants to help those in need during a crisis, like this latest natural disaster that’s taking such a toll in Texas and Louisiana”, District Attorney Summer Stephan said in a statement. Unfortunately, there are some unscrupulous individuals who will seek to personally profit from the generosity of their neighbors.

Kacy Shea, a member of United Way also believes social media can play a big role. To help you decide which charities you want to give to, 2 Wants to Know’s best recommendation is Charity Navigator. “A legitimate charity won’t need your money today”, McConnell pointed out.

Another factor to check out: whether a charity has a record of success in a disaster-affected region. The IRS has a searchable database (“Exempt Organizations Check”) of organizations eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions. In Texas, officials estimated that more than 725,000 people were under mandatory evacuation orders and more than a million faced voluntary evacuation, the Hawaii Red Cross said. “And they need us”, said Scott McNichols, President of McNichols Company in Tampa.


“We’re all for volunteers, but remember, they’re dealing with a bad disaster situation along the gulf”, he said.

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