NORMAN — In response to the tornadoes that touched down in Cleveland County on May 19 and 20, the Association of Fundraising Professionals is strongly encouraging everyone to give to relief efforts. However, donors should also take steps to ensure their contributions will be used ethically and effectively.
Donors can find a list of charities working on the Oklahoma tornado relief efforts at the AFP Disaster Relief and Fundraising Efforts Page. A blog covering news and updates related to fundraising and giving for the relief efforts is also available.
“As we’ve seen in response to other recent events, Americans are generous and quick to give in times of crisis and tragedy,” said Andrew Watt, FInstF, president and CEO of the Association of Fundraising Professionals . “Most organizations involved in these efforts are truly working to make a difference, but taking just a few precautions can help ensure your money goes to legitimate organizations helping those families and communities affected by the tornadoes.”
Watt noted that new fundraising technology is forcing donors to take a little more time in making their giving decisions. “People can now easily set up websites to not only raise funds for relief efforts, but for specific individuals and families,” Watt said. “That’s an incredible advancement and a great way to raise funds, but it also means we have to be a little more careful in making sure these sites are legitimate.”
Watt recommends that donors take their time when deciding to make a gift and not respond to high-pressure requests. “Yes, charities need donations very soon to help in relief efforts, but delaying your decision by 30 minutes or an hour to check elsewhere online, see what other organizations are doing and ensuring the solicitation is legitimate isn’t going to cause a problem. Always avoid high-pressure requests.”