Small Town News


Give wisely, safely while helping Haiti

The Raton Range of Raton, New Mexico

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The struggles of the Haitian people to deal with and recover from the recent devastating earthquake in their country has been well documented in continuing news reports. The need for help has touched many people who have watched from afar, likely including folks right here in northeast New Mexico.

Financial help is no doubt flowing from our little corner of the state, just as it is from throughout the nation and worldwide. If you are among those compassionate people who is planning to donate to a Haiti relief fund, we suggest you do a little homework on your selected relief organization to avoid being taken in by a fraud and to ensure the money you give gets to those in need in Haiti.

The Better Business Bureau has some worthwhile guidelines:

Be wary of claims that 100 percent of donations will assist relief victims. Despite an organization's claim that all money collected will go toward providing assistance, it's important to understand that charities have fundraising and administrative costs they must cover.

Use caution when giving online, especially when responding to unknown e-mails that claim to link to a relief organization. As with many disasters and breaking news events, many websites and new organizations are created overnight to allegedly help victims, or perpetrate other types of fraud.

Find out if the charity has a presence on the ground. Unless the charity already has staff on location, it may be difficult to get additional aid workers to the site of the disaster. Check to see if the organization's website clearly describes what they are doing to address immediate needs.

Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups. Some charities raise money that they pass along to relief organizations. You may want to consider avoiding the middleman and giving directly to the charity itself.

Haiti definitely needs help. But before you give, do your research so you give wisely and can be better assured that the help you offer gets to those who really need it.

Copyright 2010 The Raton Range, Raton, New Mexico. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: January 22, 2010

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