Disasters often bring out the best in people who want to help those in need, but distance can also make it seem like there is nothing you can do. That’s when charities can make a difference. Charitable donations can get needed supplies and workers into an area quickly so they can focus on people’s immediate and longer-term needs - if the charity isn’t a scam or a group that can’t make the most of your donation. When giving, experts recommend that you donate to organizations that spend most of their donations on actually helping those in need, rather than the money going to administrative costs. Here are some tips to consider when making a charitable donation: - Do your research before giving. Check out the charity online to make sure it’s valid and is clear about what it does with contributions. - Don’t get tricked by pleas from groups that seemingly pop up overnight in the wake of a disaster. - Watch out for scammers who name their charity similar to a well-known organization to confuse you. - Be wary about unsolicited email or phone calls that ask for donations, especially if they want you to send cash or wire them money immediately. - Don’t click on links in unsolicited email or download attachments. These could be ways to distribute malware. - Consider donating to charities that are local to the area of the disaster. They often know the area and the people better than large national or international groups. - Don’t feel pressured to give if you’re uncomfortable. Do your research then give when you’re ready. Remember, a donation can make a big difference, but only if the charity isn’t a scam.