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How to Help after Disasters Strikes

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Natural Disasters happen frequently across the country. Not only are people impacted severely and life is lost, but many animals are hurt and lost in these events as well. I don’t ever see much reporting being done on these victims that have no voice. The countless pets, farm animals and wildlife that suffers tremendously as well. Many people who help animals in need operate behind the scenes and do not get the media coverage they so truly deserve. They are the veterinarians and staff, charities and rescue organizations that work tireless to recover, treat, comfort, reunite or adopt out animals after such events. Let’s not forget the hundreds of volunteers and companies concerned for the welfare of not only humans but also their pets and farm animals.

The most recent tornado disasters in Texas and Oklahoma are a stark reminder how vulnerable our animal are. While there are some steps we can take to protect our smaller pets and animals, it is much more difficult to prepare for and protect our horse and other farm animals from these natural disaster. The latest devastation by a tornado and the heartbreaking images coming out of Moore, Oklahoma are stunning and almost incomprehensible. Most people will never see the impact on animals, but for the people who do see this horrific images, it will be imprinted forever. It proves once again what devastation a monster storm can bring to our beloved animals.

Disaster Dog

There are many charities that jump right in to help people and some of the big companies such as the Red Cross and  Salvation Army and Samaritan’s Purse among many others are prepared to respond immediately. These companies get great exposure in times of such disasters. It saddened me to realize it is not quite that easy to find ways to help animals, big and small, especially if you live in another state. I had to to quite some research to find the right organization to donate after the tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma.

I was on the lookout for a local organization, that provided immediate help to horses, farm animals and everything in between. Checking credentials is a tedious  and time consuming task. I had to do a lot of cross referencing, reading through websites, reviews, histories, facebook threads and google results to find the proper channels. There are plenty of people who try to take advantage of those of us who are emotionally impacted by such tragedy and want to help.

Please vet  the charity you want to give too thoroughly. We all want to respond quickly because we are emotionally impacted by such tragedy, but it does not do any good if you are donating to an organization that is unhealthy, in financial trouble, uses most donations to pay CEO’s and employees, or to be a fake all together. Here are a “Set of Tips on how to evaluate a Charity” offered by the Federal Trade Commission.

Charity Navigator, Better Business Bureau, Guide Star, Charity Watch, and Great Non Profits is a great place to check on the validity of an organization and to get information about the health of the company.  By evaluating the Financial Health and Accountability and Transparency of a charity you can make sure your money goes to help animals not to enrich owners and employees.You will feel much better if you know that your donation truly benefits animals in need.

The National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO) is an association of state offices charged with oversight of charitable organizations and charitable solicitation in the United States. Here you can find out if the Charity of your choice is or has to be registered in your state. In addition you can check on the Internal Revenue (IRS) website is the Charity is eligible for tax-exempt status.

How to avoid being scammed by charities:

  • Won’t give detailed information about the company information such as identity, mission and how money is used
  • Won’t provide tax deductible receipt
  • Name sounds just like or is similar to a well known Charity Organization
  • Plays on your emotion and pushes for immediate donation
  • Ask to send cash or to wire money
  • Offers some kind of reward or merchandise in exchange for donation

 How to check the Charity before you give:

  • Get detailed information such as name, address and phone number
  • Research the Charity before you donate via the above provided Website links
  • Ask if the caller is a fundraiser and find out details
  • Beware of Charities that suddenly emerge after a Natural Disaster or Current Event
  • Make sure you are provided with records of your donation
  • Check up on charities claiming to collect for local institutions like Fireman and Police Department. Call the agencies and verify before donating.
  • Find out how much of your donation really reaches your cause. There are many charities who use the bulk of the donation is not 100% for the cause, but there are plenty where owners, ceo’s and employees enrich themselves and next to nothing goes to help the cause.

Please do your research and you can feel great about helping others!

 

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