Sometimes it seems that human avarice and maliciousness know no bounds. The New York Sun reports today on a number of websites that have sprung up for fundraising in connection to tsunami relief, but these show no connection to known and trusted charitable organizations:
On eBay, sellers are hawking Pez dispensers, a gold necklace, a stuffed mouse, and a “hand-carved” Buddha statue with the promise that proceeds from the auctions will go directly to charities assisting the victims of the tsunami in Asia.
Visitors to tsunamireliefaid.com are directed to a crudely constructed Web site with photographs of those who appear to be tsunami victims and instructions urging users to send relief packages and $10 checks to a P.O. box in Germantown, Md.
As major aid agencies around the globe undertake what could be the costliest and most complex relief effort ever, the catastrophe in South Asia has also given rise to hundreds of newly born charities purporting to raise money for victims. …
Many of these charities are anonymous and don’t have the imprimatur of philanthropic associations. It’s unclear if the fund-raisers mentioned above are legitimate. But according to those familiar with online fraud, people looking to donate to the tsunami victims ought to be extra wary of unfamiliar Internet sites and individuals collecting money or goods.
Make sure your generosity benefits those who truly need it and not someone who contributes to their deaths by stealing the relief the victims so desperately need. Contribute through recognized charities, ones that have had long records of success in getting help to people without stealing from them. Many now recommend World Vision for effective use of donated money and material.
CQ reader Jeff Carlson has an interesting suggestion — one that could make a verifiable charity very happy:
How about a “World Relief Day” where Americans can pledge/donate 1 days take home pay to relief of the disaster victims? A lot of employers might match it as well …
I suggest January 12th …
How about it, CQ readers? Does January 12th sound like a good day for our own World Relief Day, where we pledge our take-home pay for that day to tsunami relief? Jeff suggests Red Cross as a beneficiary (the Amazon link), but I think CQ readers might be more comfortable with World Vision. Post your comments and I’ll make the decision based on the feedback received. I’ll also have a blogroll posted on January 12th of the blogs that link back to it.
Let’s see what good we can do here.