As the tragedy of the Surfside, Florida building collapse unfolds, many will seek to help victims and their families. BBB recommends that donors turn to established and experienced organizations that meet the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. However, we recognize that many turn to crowdfunding sites during times like this. BBB offers these additional points:
- How are crowdfunding sites different? Some crowdfunding platforms vet postings and projects better than others. Check out the site’s description of its procedures.
- Are photos used with permission? Some crowdfunding postings use pictures of victims without the family’s permission. Don’t assume there is a special connection just because a photo appears.
- How will collected funds be used? Will the funds be used to help pay for funerals, medical expenses, or some other purpose? Be cautious if the description is vague.
- How to avoid duplication of effort? Review recent announcements from government agencies and other institutions that address how they will be assisting victims. This can help donors identify crowdfunding postings that might be duplicating those efforts.
- What is the safest crowdfunding option? It is safest to give to crowdfunding postings of people you personally know. If that is not possible, the next best circumstance is to find out if the funds collected by a posting are going to be forwarded and distributed by an established charitable organization. In that case, the organization can be checked out and the involvement of a third-party organization can provide an additional level of oversight and assurance.