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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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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston Bombing – How to Help?

After the violent act yesterday by one (or a few) terrible people, I’m heartened to see how so many people at the site of the bombing risked their own lives to help the victims and how millions more today are asking themselves “how can I help?”  Right now, we are not aware that any charities, rated by us, have set up funds specific to this tragedy. But our team of analysts is following the evolving situation and if we identify any, we will be sure to promptly post that information here and on our website.

That said, you may hear of specific appeals for help. Remember that there is no shortage of criminals that will be tempted to take advantage of your generosity. We’ve already seen reports  that 100s of Boston-related website URLs have been purchased since the bombing. This is similar to what we saw after Hurricane Katrina, the Haiti Earthquake, Superstorm Sandy and other disasters when criminals set up sites that stole well-meaning donors’ money and personal identities. Be sure to review our tips for giving in a crisis before you many any donations in the coming days.

Once legitimate charities establish funds, be sure to still do your homework. Find out exactly how they plan to use your donation. And hold them accountable for spending your money as promised and in a timely manner. As we've seen with previous victim’s funds, it can be a very long time from when they’re established until the victims receive assistance.

Finally, you may also want to consider other ways to help such as donating blood, signing up to get trained as a disaster volunteer, or volunteer in your time or donating to a charity in your local community

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