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The team from Charity Navigator, the nation's largest independent charity evaluator and leading donor advocate, shares their thoughts on emerging nonprofit-sector issues and offers tips to better inform your intelligent giving decisions.

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Sad Saga Continues

As we've already mentioned on this blog, donors were duped into supporting the Hurricane Sandy Relief Foundation thinking it was a legitimate, well-run charity that was providing aid to victims of Superstorm Sandy. 
Image from BigStock

Now, we're learning that among the well-meaning donors were hundreds from South Carolina. Apparently, several business owners in the Hilton Head area came together and launched "Operation Southern Hospitality" to collect and send supplies to NJ. They managed to collect $1 million worth of supplies at more than 150 locations. They even had local children write notes of support and encouragement to the victims of Sandy. Sadly, it appears that the donations were never distributed by the Hurricane Sandy Relief Foundation to victims at the Jersey Shore. Instead, the clothing and other supplies were sent to a Northern NJ warehouse, where they still sit.

This story is terribly sad for both the donors and for the victims who could have used the supplies. In fact, it makes me sick to my stomach. But it is worth retelling here as a cautionary tale for donors as it illustrates several of our disaster-related giving tips:
  • Give To An Established Charity (with a track record of dealing with disasters)
  • Do Not Send Supplies 
  • Be Inspired By Social Media, But Still Do Your Homework 
(Visit Charity Navigator's site for a list of vetted charities responding to Hurricane Sandy.)

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