To get the most for your donation dollars, check out charities before you donate to be certain that they are legitimate and that they are capable of delivering on their promises.
Charity Navigator has a list of charities with excellent ratings and a history of working on major disasters and/or of working in Haiti.
See the FBI’s Haitian Earthquake Relief Fraud Alert for more tips on detecting scams, to sign up for FBI scam alerts or to report a suspected scam.
Network for Good makes it easy to donate online to multiple organizations and has a list of quick links to the most popular organizations collecting donations for Haiti relief. (Note: Network for Good adds a small additional charge for processing the credit card transactions.)
AP reports (Jan. 16, 10:27 ET) that charity rating organizations are questioning the accounting practices and management of The Wyclef Jean Foundation, Inc., which is backed by Wyclef Jean, the Haitian-born rapper. Wyclef Jean rejects the claims.
Those who send donations by text message should be aware that it can take at least a month (AP) for the money to reach a charity because the funds are not released until the donor’s phone bill is paid. A list of organizations accepting texted donations is available here.
Donate used cellphones to Phones for Haiti, an American Red Cross/ReCellular, Inc. program that refurbishes the phones and provides them to aid groups working in Haiti.
Donate loose change to UNICEF at any of the Coinstar Centers located throughout the United States. To make a donation, take a jar of coins to one of the 15,000-plus participating locations, select the “donate” option from the menu and choose The U.S. Fund for UNICEF, special code 5556. Donors receive a tax receipt for the full amount of their donation and funds are transferred to UNICEF within 48 hours. Coinstar has agreed to absorb up to $500,000 in processing costs.
Points and miles earned through airlines, hotel chains and other travel-related businesses can be donated directly to the relief effort or exchanged for cash donations to relief organizations. Some businesses will give you points or miles for donating cash to a qualifying charity. A list of travel industry offers was compiled by the LATimes (1/15).
Donations via texting, Facebook and other new technology and social media, has surpassed that of previous disasters.