Chilean Earthquake Relief Efforts
An 8.8 magnitude earthquake shook Chile on Saturday morning, February 27th, 2010. The death toll has climbed to the hundreds and more than a million people have been displaced. The damage in Chile is has not been as severely catastrophic as the damage in Haiti, in part because Chile is a more developed country with stronger building codes and more experience preparing for and dealing with earthquakes. The Chilean government has cited specific relief needs in the aftermath of the quake: field hospitals, water purification plants, rescue workers, and temporary bridges. Other needs will be identified as the damage is assessed.
CharityWatch announces its top-rated list of charities currently involved, or preparing to become involved, in Chilean earthquake relief efforts. CharityWatch, a leading charity watchdog that issues letter grade (A+ to F) ratings of nonprofit groups, identifies the following charities, which are providing aid to the victims that receive an “A” or “B” grade based on the portion of their budget going to program services and their fundraising efficiency. Contact the organizations below for information of specific relief operations now underway.
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Top-rated charities perform favorably in relation to CharityWatch benchmarks:
1) A charity should spend at least 75% of its budget on program services.
2) Charities should spend no more than $25 to raise $100.
Contact your favorite charities to find out if they provide the specific types of aid that you would like to fund, e.g., emergency relief, health care, infrastructure development, education, etc.
As with any charitable contribution, Americans wanting to help Chilean relief efforts should send contributions to only those charities with an established track record of helping people in this region.
Donors should be wary of unsolicited emails and text messages from individuals claiming to be victims of the disaster. CharityWatch advises against giving directly to such individuals and urges donors to contribute to charities involved in disaster relief efforts. The charities are better equipped to identify individual victims and direct assistance and aid appropriately.
As always, exercise precaution when donating online. To ensure that the website is legitimate, verify that the organization's website address is the exact same address that is displayed in your browser's address bar. Even the slightest variation (such as the use of underscores instead of dashes between words) may indicate an imposter. If there is any doubt, call the charity to confirm the correct website address. It is best to manually type in the organization's website address in the address bar because simply clicking a link in an email or on an unfamiliar website may take you to a fraudulent website.
Look for a padlock icon (your browser may use another symbol) on the bottom right hand corner of your screen to determine whether a site is secure for credit card donations. If there is any concern about the site's legitimacy or security, call the charity. Some charities may use an outside Internet credit card vendor to process credit card donations. Again, the donor should verify this before contributing online.
It is best to contribute to only those charities with an established track record of helping people in this region. Due to the magnitude of this disaster, it is important to be especially aware that disreputable, fly-by-night “charities” are set up to take advantage of the public’s generosity.
SEND A CHECK, NOT GOODS
The best way to help is by sending a check. Cash donations enable charities to buy the most needed type of food, medicine, clothing, shelter materials and other supplies. By buying relief products locally or regionally, charities can reduce shipping costs and more rapidly deliver assistance. Before sending any goods, first contact the charity to find out if they are appropriate and if it will be cost effective to distribute them. For example, after the 2004 Asian tsunami, boxes of donated winter coats, scarves and fuzzy hats, completely useless items in tsunami stricken nations with tropical climates, were sent to these nations.