Advice on making Katrina relief donations |

Advice on making Katrina relief donations

SUMMIT COUNTY – It’s natural to want to jump into help relief efforts immediately, but that’s not always the best solution.Renata Rafferty, a leading expert and author on charitable giving, offers some advice for making donations.– Wait: Instead of pulling out your checkbook immediately, wait until charities tell you exactly what they need.”When disaster strikes, Americans get generous,” Rafferty said. “But with Katrina’s full effects still not known, few charities have defined their relief-action plan. Once these are in place, they will let us know how best we can help.”– Follow: Tens of thousands of victims are moving to outlying areas – even across state lines. Local charities in receiving cities such as Houston will be in need of help to support and sustain relocated families. Don’t forget to direct donations to areas and charities outside the immediate disaster zone.– Anticipate: The full effects of water-borne illness, contaminated food supplies, long-term unemployment and regional recessions will not be apparent for some time. The need for support will shift from immediate disaster relief to the rebuilding of lives, infrastructures and economies. Long after Katrina is the news of the day, charities addressing health, economic development and re-employment will be desperate for your donations.Rafferty also points out lessons people learned from helping with previous disasters such as the terrorist attacks and the tsunami.– Never respond to telephone or e-mail solicitations for donations.– Always write on your check how you wish your donation to be used.– Beware of “sound-alike” charities. When in doubt, verify a charity’s legal status at, the local Better Business Bureau or a community foundation.– Refrain from collecting clothing, bedding or household items until a charity has agreed to accept such items.– Ensure any donations via the internet are made over a secure, encrypted connection.– Remember local charities.”With so much attention and giving focused on Katrina relief, local organizations will no doubt face their own fundraising challenges as they continue to meet the ongoing needs found in every community,” Rafferty said.Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or at

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