Be Careful of The Predators When Donating Money

Charity has a high regard and value in Islam and we all should do what we can to help the needy.  A person who had everything in the wake of Sunami said, yesterday i had everything, today i have nothing.  Imagine the places in the world where so many innocent needy people don’t even have the basic necessities of life.  My son saw an ad from Red Cross the other day and wanted to send money and brought me $5 to send.  I was very proud.

What Islam says about charity :

The Quran states: ‘And be steadfast in your prayer and pay charity; whatever good you send forth for your future, you shall find it with Allah, for Allah is well aware of what you do’ (2:110).

As you can see Charity is central to a Muslim’s life and our money is something we will be answerable for.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “The best charity is to satisfy a hungry person, No wealth (of a servant of Allah) is decreased because of charity.” (Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith No. 2247).

It is very important to look after those who don’t have the means to do so, especially the young and the old.

You arebprobably glued to the television set, every time when a natural disaster hits somewhere in the world or when acts of men cause casualties to innocent lives. As these tragic events unfold and as the need for helping the displaced comes, what do you do?

The current cost to the Australian economy caused by natural disasters is estimated to be $6.3 billion per year. Pakistan had some of the worst earthquakes in history in the recent years, Chennai in India reels under the recent rainfall, Devastating floods hit the North of England and Southern Scotland. If that was not enough there are man-made disasters in the middle east and other parts of the world, which are causing unprecedented amount of refuge crises.

It is no secret that majority of the world’s population growth in the next several decades will be in the cities of low and middle-income countries.  Many of these cities in developing countries are particularly vulnerable to flooding and extreme weather, are ill equipped to deal with disasters and are located in low-lying coastal zones. Within these cities, you can see slum settlements are often built on the most vulnerable lands, prone to landslides, or abutting waterways in flood zones.

You hear it, see it and read about it ; natural disasters, particularly storms, earthquakes and hurricanes, are thought to be increasing in severity and frequency—can this be due to the climate change or earth as a whole is changing due to humans. Geophysical disasters such as earthquakes are having a greater effect on humans because more people live near fault lines and when it hits, by the time the dust settles, our most valuable assets (the human life) disappears.

People all over the world are digging deep to try to help out with food, supplies, shelter and monetary aid. Psychologists tell us that there is a basic human need to contribute during a disaster, after all we are tribal and social animals. But, just like in the wild, there are those predators that try to take advantage of the situation.

There are literally hundreds of websites and telephone numbers being aired on TV for charitable giving but how do you know who is real and who is not?  Here are some tips to make sure that the aid gets to where it’s supposed to go and you don’t get ripped off.

First of all, be wary of any charity that is inexperienced in carrying out disaster relief, but is suddenly soliciting for relief. Although the intentions of some of these organizations are honorable, they may just not have the ability to deliver the goods.

Watch out for organizations or individuals whose appeal for help is long on emotion and short on the details. Ask them what they intend to do with any funds that are left over after their immediate drive is finished.

Most of the relief organizations prefer monetary donations instead of goods. That way they can purchase the needed items as close to the disaster area as possible. This saves both time and transportation cost. I know people who went to help and worked with some of the charities, what you hear from them, makes you lose hope.  Also some charities, spend most of the money given towards the running cost rather than helping those who need it most.

When you donate, ask what percentage of the money will actually be used to help people in need?  Ask for their plan of action and other questions you may have.

One simple thing you can do is to go to the website : www.give.org for a list of legitimate relief organizations and a comprehensive evaluation on each one of them. If you do decide to contribute, don’t send cash. Instead make out a check or money order with the name of the organization on it. Do NOT make out the check to anyone who claims to represent the group.

Beware of “phishing” scams that arrive through spam or unsolicited email. These message may link to a false website that may look like the real thing. And whatever you do, NEVER give out a credit card number or any information about the financial institution that you do business with.

Watch out for excessive on the spot pressure to donate. Be wary of any offer to send out a “runner” to pick up your donation.

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask basic questions about the group’s background and financial operation. Even groups that have only been around for a short period of time should have the basic information on file. In order for your contribution to be tax deductible, in the USA the organization has to be tax exempt under section 501 (e) of the Internal Revenue Code. You can go to www.irs.gov to get a list of organizations that qualify. In other countries similar tax exempt status exists.

One important thing to remember too, is that organizations like The Red Cross, Islamic-Relief , Human appeal, Salvation Army and The United Way need your help even after the disaster is over and everything is cleaned up. The more they are prepared to help, the better we are all prepared.

Or you can donate as i have seen my parents do. They send or take money directly to the people in need.  If you don’t have the means to do it directly, please make sure to do due-diligence properly before giving money. You want the money to go the right places, to people who deserve it and not to the scammers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *