It helps if you're familiar with the organization to which you're donating. I mean, truly familiar, not just familiar with their solicitation materials: you've been active with them, you're familiar with their financial reports, you've volunteered or worked for them, you have friends who are active with them. You feel confident that you know what they do with your money.
A number of people have told me they find Charity Navigator helpful. Click here for Charity Navigator's list of and assessment of groups responding to the crisis in Haiti. Charity Navigator adds:
Please also remember to follow our Tips for Giving in Times of Crisis and our guide for Protecting Yourself From Online Scams to help ensure that your gift gets to those who need it the most.
Religious groups do not always appear in Charity Navigator's lists, since their financial filing requirements are different than 501 (c) 3 s.
Click here for Charity Watch's list of and assessment of groups responding to the crisis in Haiti.
I am deliberately not including a list of charities here -- even though I easily could, based on the criteria I've outlined above, and even though I have strong opinions about several different relief organizations from my experience in humanitarian work. While I've been part of some good conversations on Facebook about different charities -- and thank you if you've been part of those -- I am pretty tired of the way this disaster has so quickly turned into fans of different charities plugging for those specific ones. I think it's actually quite important to think for yourself about this, and make up your own mind.
So here are some tools.
And if you comment, please don't plug a specific organization, okay? Thanks.