Donating: When in doubt, check it out

Published 8:32 am Wednesday, September 1, 2021

By Angela Guth

One year.  It has been one year since what was just the beginning of a continuance of unprecedented, unfathomable, life-changing events, and other words that describe what our community has been enduring.

We have learned so much in 12 short months. Most of all, I believe we have learned to have patience. Some residents are still not back in their home or apartment. They are learning to have patience on dealing with the red tape of insurance, shortage of supplies and materials, and laborers to complete the repairs.

As our businesses began the rebuilding process whether it was from the ground up or repairing, it has come with a price. You cannot put a price tag on the stress and agony of rebuilding your business, hoping you have employees to report to work, and dealing with the consumers who frequent their business. Some consumers take to social media to express their appreciation for their favorite business being open, while others express their dismay. This is where we can do better and focus on the positive rather than the negative.

As we watched the landfall of Ida to our neighbors in Southeast Louisiana, it brought back that devastation once again. We are a strong community with huge hearts. We want to “pay it forward,” as we felt support from people all over the U.S. As our fellow Louisianians are suffering greatly, there is no distinction in political parties, background, or geography. We are all residents of Louisiana and our great state needs our help. We urge you to exercise caution on how you donate. We encourage you to research before you donate by visiting Give.org.

A few tips:

Donate to experienced groups. Support experienced organization that stand ready to provide quick and effective assistance.

Look for appeal clarity. Seek out appeals that are upfront and clear about what disaster relief services you are supporting.

Give money rather than goods. Donating money is the quickest way to help and provides charities the flexibility to channel resources to impacted areas.

Understand crowdfunding. If engaging in crowdfunding, give to someone you know and trust, and review the platform’s policies and procedures. Crowdfunding sites operate differently. For example, some crowdfunding sites do very little vetting of individuals who decide to post for assistance after a disaster. If a charitable organization is posting for support on a crowdfunding site, consider going to the charity’s website directly and check out the organization per the tips in this advisory.

Work with known charities, churches, or civic groups. Be weary of social media requests received from unknown sources.

When in doubt, check it out.

Angela Guth is President | CEO for the Better Business Bureau serving Southwest Louisiana. Contact her at 337-478-6253 or aguth@lakecharles.bbb.org.