In the past six months, the internet has been flooded with news from around the globe. Everyday on my social media feed is updates on COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, Zimbabwe, China, and now, Lebanon. In our ever increasingly interconnected world, it becomes easier to see what is going on across the ocean. Instagram stories and Facebook feeds urge their friends and family to take action beyond spreading awareness. Petitions, protests, rallies, and donation links are all positive ways to have an impact on a cause. One of the most impactful ways to contribute to a cause is through donating. Money pays the bail for activists who are arrested, it pays for medical needs for those in disaster areas, and it supports local charities who are actively working to help their own communities. However, with the ease of online donations, it is easy to fall for charity frauds or scams that use well-intentioned donations for their own personal use or use a large portion for the organization itself rather than the cause. It is imperative to be more aware and savvy about the organizations and donation links being shared online.
The simplicity of clicking a link on our phone or computer that can quickly input your credit card data makes it a quick action to donate a couple bucks to a cause of your choice. However, sometimes websites use a portion of your donation to support their own website. You also want to be vigilant about what your money is being used for once you donate it. Is it going directly to buy supplies or is it to help with mostly fundraising for the organization itself? Asking yourself these questions will allow you more control on where your money goes. It is even better if you can choose which area your money will be funding. For example, buying food and supplies, or paying for expenses to rebuild.
It is also important to research the organization and the background. Are there results and accountability from the organization? Are they transparent with what they do with the donations? A google search can reveal scams and frauds and prevent you from inadvertently paying for someone's vacation. The same way it is easy to donate online, it is just as easy to find out information about who you are donating to and what they do with the funds.
Moreover, check to make sure you are emailed a receipt if donating online. I make it a habit to check the receipt and check my account after I donate. It is an effortless way to make sure you are not overcharged for your donation or being charged multiple times. It is an effortless way to make sure your donation went through and that it is going to the correct group of people.
Donating to causes we care about is an excellent way to directly make a change in the world around us. Your money can go halfway across the globe to help a person you don't know. Don't be afraid to donate because it could be a potential scam. Be smart and do your part to certify your donation is going to the right cause.