BBB Cautions On Fundraising To Assist Cleveland Kidnap Victims - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

BBB Cautions On Fundraising To Assist Cleveland Kidnap Victims

Posted: Updated:

BBB Cautions on Fundraising to Assist Cleveland Kidnap Victims  

The rescue last week of three women and a child from a Cleveland home where they were held captive for a decade has gained worldwide attention. Generous donors wishing to help the victims are being cautioned by Better Business Bureau to confirm the legitimacy of all charitable fundraising and crowd funding efforts.  

"A tragedy of this nature that is the focus of high profile media attention inspires people to give," says David Weiss, president and CEO of BBB of Greater Cleveland, "but, unfortunately, also catches the attention of scammers who try to take advantage of well-meaning generosity."  

BBB Wise Giving Alliance has seen charity scams following all recent natural disasters and manmade tragedies, and encourages donors to balance their generosity with thoughtfulness and research. "Try to avoid making emotional giving decisions," says H. Art Taylor, President and CEO of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, "The first request for a donation may not be the best choice. Check with the BBB to help avoid questionable fundraising efforts."  

BBB also reminds consumers that donations made through crowd funding websites are usually considered gifts to the recipients and are not tax deductible unless the group receiving the funds is a 501(c)(3) organization as designated by the Internal Revenue Service.  

BBB urges consumers to make wise choices with their donations:

1.) Respond thoughtfully. Take the time to check out the charity to avoid wasting your generosity by donating to a questionable or poorly managed effort. The first request for a donation may not be the best choice. Be proactive and find trusted charities that are providing assistance.

2.) Respect the victims and their families. Organizations raising funds should get permission from the families to use either the names of the victims and/or any photographs of them. Some charities raising funds for the Colorado movie theater and Newtown school victims did not do this and were the subject of criticism from victims' families.

3.) Registration confirmation. About 40 of the 50 states require charities to register with a state government agency (usually a division of the State Attorney General's office) before they solicit for charitable gifts. If the charity is not registered, that may be a significant red flag. For example, Ohio requires charities to register with the Office of the Attorney General before they solicit for charitable gifts.

4.) Results should be shared. After funds are raised for a tragedy, it is even more important for organizations to provide an accounting of how funds were spent. Transparent organizations will post this information on their websites so that anyone can find out and not have to wait until the audited financial statements are available sometime in the future.

5.) Retail sale disclosures. If any items are being sold (such as t-shirts, etc.) in the context that their sales will benefit the victims, look for a disclosure that states the actual or anticipated amount of the purchase that will benefit the a specified charity and, if applicable, any minimums or maximums being raised (e.g. up to $100,000) as well as campaign term limits (e.g. during the month of May).

6.) Remember Online Giving Cautions. Never click on links to charities on unfamiliar websites or in texts or emails. These may take you to a lookalike website where you will be asked to provide personal financial information or to click on something that downloads harmful malware into your computer. Don't assume that charity recommendations on Facebook, blogs or other social media have already been vetted. Also, websites that enable individuals to raise funds (known as crowd funding sites) can be established very quickly but may not have oversight procedures in place to ensure that funds will be used as promised (for example, establishing a CPA, bank or other respected third party to receive collected donations and help distribute funds to victims).

7.) Review BBB Charity Reports. Find out if the subject charity meets the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. Visit give.org for reports on nationally soliciting charities and bbb.org for information on regionally soliciting organizations.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: The Cleveland Foundation has set up the Cleveland Courage Fund for the victims. The organization is a community foundation that has been supporting various Cleveland area projects since 1914.  

BBB Wise Giving Alliance is asking anyone who receives a suspicious charitable solicitation to report it to BBB Report a Scam.  

ABOUT BBB WISE GIVING ALLIANCE: BBB Wise Giving Alliance produces reports on over 1,200 nationally soliciting charitable organizations, and local BBBs report on another 10,000 local and regional charities. BBB Wise Giving Alliance does not rank charities but rather seeks to assist donors in making informed judgments by providing objective evaluations of national charities based on 20 standards that address charity governance, finances, fund raising, appeal accuracy, and other issues. The outcomes of the evaluations are available online at give.org. BBB Wise Giving Alliance is an affiliate of the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS: CASH REWARD offered for information leading to the arrest of these FUGITIVES

    PHOTOS: CASH REWARD offered for information leading to the arrest of these FUGITIVES

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:29 PM EDT2014-08-22 01:29:40 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Crime Stoppers of the Inland Northwest is offering cash rewards for any information leading to the arrest of the fugitives listed on their website as of August 21, 2014. If you recognize any of these fugitives, you are asked call 1-800-222 TIPS.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Crime Stoppers of the Inland Northwest is offering cash rewards for any information leading to the arrest of the fugitives listed on their website as of August 21, 2014. If you recognize any of these fugitives, you are asked call 1-800-222 TIPS.>>
  • PHOTOS: Semi-truck rolls on its side in Post Falls

    PHOTOS: Semi-truck rolls on its side in Post Falls

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:45 PM EDT2014-08-22 01:45:02 GMT
    POST FALLS, Idaho -Idaho State Police were called to the area of Pleasant View Road off of I-90 on Thursday.>>
    POST FALLS, Idaho -Idaho State Police were called to the area of Pleasant View Road off of I-90 on Thursday. The truck was blocking multiple lanes of traffic, and it is unknown if anyone was hurt during the crash. However, a witness to the crash told KHQ it appeared that everyone was OK.>>
  • PHOTOS: Harvest 2014

    PHOTOS: Harvest 2014

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:18 PM EDT2014-08-22 01:18:43 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - One of the great parts about living in Spokane, is if you head out of town in any direction, you're going to run into some beautiful farm land. I grew up south of Spokane, near Plaza, and one of my favorite things to do was to sit on the porch at night and stare south towards Rosalia at all of the rolling hills of wheat, lentils, barley and peas. >>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - One of the great parts about living in Spokane, is if you head out of town in any direction, you're going to run into some beautiful farm land. I grew up south of Spokane, near Plaza, and one of my favorite things to do was to sit on the porch at night and stare south towards Rosalia at all of the rolling hills of wheat, lentils, barley and peas. >>
  • National NewsMore>>

  • Investigators: Pentagon broke the law in swap for Sgt. Bergdahl

    Investigators: Pentagon broke the law in swap for Sgt. Bergdahl

    Thursday, August 21 2014 4:08 PM EDT2014-08-21 20:08:21 GMT
    KHQ.COM- Congressional investigators say the Pentagon broke the law when it swapped five Taliban leaders for Idaho native Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office says the Defense Department's failure to notify the relevant congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of the exchange broke the law.>>
    KHQ.COM- Congressional investigators say the Pentagon broke the law when it swapped five Taliban leaders for Idaho native Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office says the Defense Department's failure to notify the relevant congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of the exchange broke the law.>>
  • Doctor: No health risk from 2 US Ebola patients

    Doctor: No health risk from 2 US Ebola patients

    Thursday, August 21 2014 1:55 PM EDT2014-08-21 17:55:21 GMT
    ATLANTA - A doctor at the hospital that treated two American aid workers who were infected with the deadly Ebola virus in Africa says their discharge poses no public health risk.>>
    ATLANTA - A doctor at the hospital that treated two American aid workers who were infected with the deadly Ebola virus in Africa says their discharge poses no public health risk. Officials announced the release of Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol on Thursday. Brantly left Emory University Hospital on Thursday. Writebol left Tuesday. Family and officials say they're free of the virus. >>
  • Wife: Robin Williams had early stages of Parkinson's Disease at time of death

    Wife: Robin Williams had early stages of Parkinson's Disease at time of death

    Thursday, August 14 2014 3:26 PM EDT2014-08-14 19:26:01 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Actor and comedian Robin Williams was sober but struggling with the early stages of Parkinson's Disease at the time of his death, according to his wife. Williams' wife released the following statement Thursday:>>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Actor and comedian Robin Williams was sober but struggling with the early stages of Parkinson's Disease at the time of his death, according to his wife. Williams' wife released the following statement Thursday:>>