7 Tips On Donating for Japan Disaster Relief

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A man weeps as he finds his wife & child at the Red Cross hospital after they were separated by the earthquake-tsunami, in Ishinomaki, March 14, 2011.


Struck by a 9.1 magnitude earthquake, followed by 32-ft high tsunami waves and continuing aftershocks of as much as 6.0 magnitude, the people of Japan are caught in a waking nightmare.
Entire areas are devastated; houses, bridges and roads washed away. At least 10,000 are reported dead; even more are still missing. Many survivors are getting low on basic supplies of food and water. Japan’s Prime Minister calls this his country’s worst crisis since World War II.
Although Japan is the third richest country in the world, the sheer scale of this disaster exceeds even Japan’s capabilities. We are called as fellow human beings to help the suffering Japanese people.
Alas, times like this are also when maggots crawl out of the human woodwork. There are evil people who actually seek to exploit and profit from others’ deaths, pain, and suffering with scams, fraud, and theft. Therefore, while we open our hearts and checkbooks to help Japan, we must exercise caution. Here are instructions to the wise, from the website WisBusiness.com:

Better Business Bureau: Donor alert — Giving to Pacific tsunami and Japanese earthquake victims

3/14/2011
CONTACT:

Be Sure Disaster Relief Charities are Legit and Equipped to Help
March 14, 2011, Milwaukee, Wis. – Americans saw many pictures and videos of the devastation in Japan over the weekend, and may be considering donating to a charity to help. If so, the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau (BBB) urges givers to make sure their donations will go to legitimate and reputable charities and relief efforts that have the capability to help those in need.
“When we learn of these disasters our natural instinct is to reach out to charities and relief efforts that can help; however, please take a moment to be sure you are connecting with those that actually can,” said Randall Hoth, Wisconsin BBB president/CEO. “Not only do people need to be concerned about avoiding fraud, they also need to make sure their money goes to those that are equipped and experienced to handle the unique challenges of providing assistance.”
Although the BBB has no reports yet of scams related to the Japanese tsunami, its experience with past natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Haiti, prompts the BBB to issue a “pre-emptive strike” against donation scams. BBB offers the following seven tips to help Americans decide where to direct donations:

  1. Rely on expert opinion when it comes to evaluating a charity. Be cautious when relying on third-party recommendations such as bloggers or other Web sites, as they might not have fully researched the listed relief organizations. The public can go to http://www.bbb.org/charity to research charities and relief organizations to verify that they are accredited by the BBB and meet the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.
  2. Be cautious when giving online. Be cautious about online giving, especially in response to spam messages and emails that claim to link to a relief organization. In response to the tsunami disaster in 2004, there were concerns raised about many Web sites and new organizations that were created overnight allegedly to help victims.
  3. Find out if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the disaster impact areas. Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to get new aid workers to quickly provide assistance. See if the charity’s website clearly describes what they can do to address immediate needs.
  4. Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups. Some charities may be raising money to pass along to relief organizations. If so, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and giving directly to charities that have a presence in the region. Or, at a minimum, check out the ultimate recipients of these donations to ensure the organizations are equipped to effectively provide aid.
  5. Be wary of claims that 100 percent of donations will assist relief victims. Despite what an organization might claim, charities have fund raising and administrative costs. Even a credit card donation will involve, at a minimum, a processing fee. If a charity claims that 100 percent of collected funds will be assisting earthquake victims, the truth is that the organization is still probably incurring fund raising and administrative expenses. They may use some of their other funds to pay this, but the expenses will still be incurred.
  6. Gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations. In-kind drives for food and clothing, while well intentioned, may not be the best or quickest way to help those in need. Even if the organization has the staff and infrastructure to be able to properly distribute such aid, a money donation may be far more helpful to a charity that is responding to a crisis situation.
  7. Donate directly to the relief charity you have chosen. You may be tempted to make a donation by texting. Charities can raise significant sums this way, but be aware that it might take a long while for the money to reach the nonprofit if it is given through mobile texting. Text donations also typically have limitations on the amount you can give. To put your disaster relief gift to work faster, go directly to the charity’s website to make your donation, or call them with your credit card number.

You can start your search of BBB Accredited Charities here: http://www.bbb.org/charity
For more information or further inquiries, please contact the Wisconsin BBB at http://www.wisconsin.bbb.org or 414-847-6000 (metro Milwaukee), (920)-734-4352 (Appleton) or 1-800-273-1002 (elsewhere in Wisconsin).
About BBB
BBB is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB provides objective advice, free business BBB Reliability ReportsTM and charity BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is difference in viewpoints. Although the first BBB was founded in 1912, the Wisconsin BBB began in 1939. Today, 125 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring more than four million local and national businesses and charities. Please visit http://www.bbb.org for more information about BBB.
~Eowyn

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0 responses to “7 Tips On Donating for Japan Disaster Relief

  1. My reaction to Judge Andrew Napolitano:
    1. This is NOT the first time the US government has dispatched the US military to assist in disaster relief. We did that in Haiti. Was that wrong too?
    2. Sending the US 7th Fleet to Japan is not charity assistance like private citizens donating money. The US Navy is there to lend American expertise (containing the nuclear power stations’ leakage/meltdown, which is in our interest as we really don’t want radioactive clouds drifting to the US) and plain muscle power to help with evacuation, distributing food & water (as the US did in Haiti), etc.
    3. If Andrew Napolitano objects to charity efforts by the US government toward other countries because the govt had not received the American people’s explicit consent, then he should also object to:
    * All US foreign aid — to individual countries (the biggest recipient is Israel), to the UN, to World Bank, to IMF, etc. etc.
    * The US govt dispensing welfare benefits (i.e., charity) to illegal aliens and the millions upon millions of Americans getting “entitlement” dollars.
    * Every and all acts of the US government that have not received the explicit consent/approval of the American people.
    This means that we should just scrub our Republic for a Direct Democracy. A Republic is a type of democracy — from the words “demos” (people) and “kratia (rule) or “rule of the people” — via the people electing representatives who are given the electoral authority to make decisions on behalf of their constituents without having been expressly directed by the people to act. A Direct Democracy is when the people actually rule/govern themselves without intermediaries & representatives. Alas, a direct democracy is wholly impractical unless “the people” are a small group, like a commune. Even here, communes have not had a shining record of success.

     
  2. We’ve got a Navy base on Okinawa and Japan is our ally through bonds of friendship, trade, mutual business ties and treaties! How could we not go to their aid?!

     
  3. From what I’ve seen of the Judge, I suspect he would object, Eowyn. He is all about the Rule of Law. I’ve heard him talk about his objections to your #1 and #2 points. As to point #3, that refers back to the fact that the president did this without consulting Congress, which he is required to do. What a surprise, PresOba once again bypassed Congress. When will Congress figure out that the Executive Branch has decided the other two branches are superfluous? By the actions of the Executive Branch, we are not a Republic or even a Democracy but a virtual Dictatorship that danes to give the appearance of a loosely based democracy.
    My take on it : Our debt is escalating, and the president is doing everything within his power to break us. “Never let a crisis go to waste.” Add to that the president has been apologizing to the world for how horrible America is, and yet now he’s playing the America is a hero card.
    I don’t begrudge sending help. I do begrudge the fact that the president and the left deride Americans as greedy, egocentric, narrow-minded bigots, but have no problem rushing to play benevolent do-gooders. And they may be genuinely compassionate… Nope, doesn’t wash. It’s the contradiction. Either Americans are rich, ignorant egocentrics, or they’re hardworking, generous people trying to be better and trying to make the world a better place. The Executive Branch represents America, so which is it? Because no matter how you look at it: One way or another, it’s a lie. The Executive Branch hasn’t figured out that you can’t have it both ways, though it certainly is trying.
    My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan and all those with connections there. May God bless our troops as they do their duty, that they will be blessed with strength, courage, and protection.

     
  4. Judge Nap can be a real jerk at times.
    This is one move Obama has made that I actually agree with.
    -Dave

     

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