How to Judge if a 9/11 Charity Is Worthwhile: BBB Tips

‘It is wise to be wary,’ says New York City’s Better Business Bureau

9/11 special report logoTen years after the terrible events of Sept. 11, 2001, Americans continue to dig deep to help victims of the tragedy and their families. Today, a number of old and new charities are soliciting donations to aid those in need and to support 9/11 memorials.

But also during this 10th anniversary, New York City’s Better Business Bureau is pointing to news reports about some charities that solicited money in the name of 9/11 relief but did not use the funds appropriately.

“BBB recommends: do your homework before giving to the 9/11 cause of your choice,” says Metro New York’s BBB Foundation in a news release. “It is wise to be wary.”

Here are the Better Business Bureau’s tips for people who are approached with a 9/11 giving opportunity, especially one that seems unfamiliar or has a name similar to the name of a well-known charity.

Ask questions about why the charity still needs to collect 9/11 related money now. What ongoing purposes are they serving that flow from the events of 9/11? Request written details from the charity about what it does with the donations.

Check with the IRS at www.irs.gov/app/pub-78/ to verify the organization’s tax exempt status.  In New York State, charity registration can be verified through the New York State Attorney General’s Charities Bureau at www.charitiesnys.com.

Contact the Better Business Bureau to get BBB charity reviews on 9/11 related charities.  See national BBB charity reviews at www.bbb.org/charity.  Metro New York area charity reviews are also available at www.newyork.bbb.org

A nonprofit established in 1969, the BBB provides educational services for charities and consumers as well as businesses. It operates the New York Philanthropic Advisory Service, which publishes reports on more than 775 metro New York charities based on their performance as measured by the BBB’s “wise giving” standards.

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(See complete coverage of 9/11: Ten Years After on AdvisorOne.)

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