When in doubt, give a little!
I often hear from folks that they are afraid to give to charities in response to natural disasters because they think it’s more likely their donations will be misused in these situations. Ok, reality check time.
Of course I advocate due diligence before donating, but there are many who will do that for you, including vetting bodies such as Charity Navigator and me!
Of course, there have been occasions when nonprofits, some huge some small, have not made the most efficient use of disaster-related funds or have put excess funds to use elsewhere without being completely upfront about that with their donors. There is also the rare true scammer asking you to text for good while lining his own pockets, HOWEVER, you should know that these are far and away the exceptions and not the rule!
Quite frankly, most of us are not giving huge amounts of money – we can’t afford to, which is OK for two reasons: First, whatever we can give will make a difference, and secondly, we aren’t giving so much away that IF our funds were somehow mishandled, we haven’t risked a huge investment.
This issue is a bit like people’s fear of flying. Truth is, you’re 1000s of times more likely to die in a car accident within a few miles of your home than in a catastrophic plane crash. Similarly, you’re much likelier to get ripped off by the cost of the fancy cup of coffee you buy every day than by the donation you make to charity.
Besides, in the end, isn’t it better to give to a recommended nonprofit and help provide rescue and relief to those who are suffering rather than withhold out of an irrational fear that your $50, which you’d probably blow on a dinner out anyway, might not go exactly where you hoped?