Sep 01, 2017

Looking to Help Those Impacted By Harvey? Be Sure To Do The Research!

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the nation has marveled at the heroic acts on the ground by first responders and citizen flotillas alike, who worked 24/7 on rescue missions. In the aftermath of Harvey, we have seen an outpouring of generosity as Americans rally together to help the tens of thousands of victims who have lost their belongings, family, and livelihoods to the storm. Unfortunately, as often happens in crises like this, there are opportunists seeking to take advantage of the situation through crowdfunding scams and fake charities. Though most people have hearts of gold and actually donate the money that they raise through crowdfunding, this is not always the case.

Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, was quick to alert the public and say, “[There are] bad actors taking advantage of victims and their circumstances (New York Times)." It’s good to be on the lookout for the following:

  • Emails from unfamiliar organizations or people
  • Automated phone calls to either your landline or cell phone
  • Links shared on social media to personal crowdfunding webpages

The best rule of thumb to avoid donating your money to a fake charity or crowdfunding scam is to follow the old adage: “stick to what you know.” Time Magazine reiterates the aforementioned and says, “It’s best to donate to a reputable organization that was not created in the direct aftermath of a disaster” (Money). Organizations like GlobalGiving, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, and AmeriCares Foundation are reputable for a reason--they’re all known for properly allocating their disaster relief funds and using them for the way they were intended. Better Business Bureau, Charity Navigator, and Give are all good online resources that allow the public to look up whether or not a charity is legitimate. 

Check out this NPR article with different ways to help people in Houston:


  • Can you think of any other ways to ensure that you are working with a reputable firm? 
  • Aside from monetary donations, can you think of other ways to support the victims of Hurricane Harvey?
  • Of the items listed in the NPR link, what make the most sense to you?

NGPF Activity: If you liked this article, check out this NGPF Activity, Compare: Charities to learn which trustworthy charities to donate to. This could also come in handy when teaching young children which charities are best based on the causes they are most drawn to.

In addition, check out this NGPF Lesson on Philanthropy where your students can learn what it means to be philanthropic at any level including conducting research to determine where their dollars can have the most impact. 

About the Author

Danielle Bautista

Danielle is a native of Southern California and a recent graduate from the University of Maine, where she braved the frigid winters—a feat in and of itself—and earned her Bachelor's degree in International Affairs. She has a passion for working with non-profit organizations and serving populations in underprivileged communities. When Danielle isn't writing NGPF blog posts, spearheading various outreach projects, or managing contests and flash surveys, you can find her doing some sort of outdoor activity, learning a new hobby, or cracking what she thinks are witty puns!

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