Sunday, December 28, 2014

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NY1 For You: Not All Charities Are Created Equal

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New Yorkers have rushed to the answer the call to donate to charities aiming to help their neighbors recover from Hurricane Sandy, but some organizations can't help in the way they promise. NY1's Susan Jhun filed the following report.

Whether it's food, blankets or money, New Yorkers have been anxious to help their own recover from the effects of Hurricane Sandy. But watchdog groups say those looking to give, should do so carefully.

Claire Rozenzweig, the CEO of BBB Metro NY, says it's important for prospective donors to do their research before giving to a charity to ensure that their dollar goes where they want it to.

"You want your money to go to charities that are actually on the ground and able to do what you want them to do with your donation," Rosenzweig said. "So the key thing is to just make sure the charity is reliable and legitimate.

In the rush to give, BBB reminds people to stop and ask questions.

First, don't respond to unsolicited calls, texts or emails that claim to link to a charity.

"When you're looking at a charity and you're wondering if it's real, just go to the website of the charity itself, go to the source," Rosenzweig said. "Call the charity if you have any questions."

If you're not familiar with a charity, check that it's registered before donating. Most organizations that solicit donations must be registered with the Attorney General.

Never give out any information like credit card or bank account numbers.

One good sign to watch out for are claims that 100 percent of your donation will go to the cause. Even for the best charity organizations there's some percentage that must go back into the business.

"People really want to help and it's your impulse you want to help but don't just react, take that extra few minutes and just take a deep breath step back and just check it out," Rosenzweig said.

You can get more information by calling The Better Business Bureau at 212-358-2873 or logging on at

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