How To Help Ukraine: Ways To Make a Donation Safely

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has put millions of people in harm’s way. One way you can help make a difference is by making a donation to relief efforts there.

If you choose to give, money expert Clark Howard wants you to do so safely without having to worry about the many scams out there.

This article will show you how you can safely donate to Ukrainian relief efforts.

What’s Happening in Ukraine

News reports and heartbreaking images on social media show that Ukraine's cities and towns continue to be under attack as Russian forces advance.

As you can imagine, the situation has created a humanitarian crisis that is expected to escalate in the coming days.

Many nonprofit organizations are providing humanitarian aid for Ukrainians.

Highly-Rated Charities

The following charities engaged in relief work for Ukraine are all highly rated by both Charity Navigator and Charity Watch, two charity watchdog groups that closely vet nonprofit organizations:

Ways To Choose the Best Charities

Because scammers are always looking for a way to separate you from your money, it’s a good idea to establish some ground rules when it comes to choosing which charities to give to.

Do Your Research

Find out as much as you can about any organization you're considering giving to. Earlier, I mentioned two sites that Clark recommends for vetting charities: Charity Navigator and Charity Watch. He says you can add to the list as well.

Those sites rate or grade charities so you can see how the organizations compare to one another.

Beware of Red Flags

See if you can find out how much money goes to the actual cause and not other expenses. This is often information you can find on a charity’s website.

“There are so many charities that are legit, but they spend your money miserably with way too much money going to overhead and all that,” Clark says.

Going online, you can find out other problems associated with a particular charity. The Federal Trade Commission website says, "Once you find a specific charity you're considering giving to, search its name plus 'complaint,' 'review,' 'rating,' 'fraud,' or 'scam.' If you find bad reviews, it might be best to find another organization."

Watch Out for Scams

You also should be on the lookout for the scam phone caller who may try to use an event, in this case, the Ukrainian crisis, to pry money out of you.

“If somebody calls you to solicit, you tell them, ‘Send me literature on your organization first so I can look it over in my leisure,” Clark says.

And if somebody presses you for money? “No way: They get nothing from you,” Clark adds. “You worked hard for your money, and you’ve got to make sure it’s going where you really want it to go.”

Final Thought

Remember to choose your charities wisely, Clark says. That’s why he wants you to go to the charity watchdog websites mentioned above so that you can find out what the organization you have in mind is all about before you pull out your wallet.

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