In the wake of the earthquake in Haiti, massive amounts of donations have been funneling in to charity organizations.
Text message-based donation have emerged as a fast, easy way of making a donation – during last week’s NFL playoffs alone, text donations came pouring in at a rate of $500,000 per hour, according to The Red Cross.

But the FBI is urging donors to do their research before giving money to the cause. “Past tragedies and natural disasters have prompted individuals with criminal intent to solicit contributions purportedly for a charitable organization,” the agency said in a statement.

Even established relief agencies have come under scrutiny for how they distribute the the donations they receive, including Wyclef Jean’s “Yele” charity, started in 2005, which has been accused of financial mismanagement almost since it’s inception.
Here are three tips for making sure your donation goes to those most in need.

Donate to an established, reputable charity—some charities have a lot of administrative costs, meaning your donation could get tied up in things aside from the relief effort. Full a full list of charity’s operating in Haiti, with a grading system based on how efficiently donations are used, visit http://www.charitywatch.org/hottopics/Haiti.html

Be wary when  donating online. In just one week, 400 websites have been launched with some connection to Haiti relief efforts, some of which are bound to be disreputable. Anyone with an internet connection and a lack of human decency can set up a fraudulent Paypal account to make money off this disaster. Remember to check for the “.org” in a site’s name, as opposed to a “.com,” and don’t respond to unsolicited e-mail.

Donate to organizations, not individuals – Whether in person, on the phone, or though e-mail, be wary of any individual who approaches you about donations for the relief effort. There are no shortage of people trying to profit off the situation in Haiti.
If you want to make a quick donation to the Haiti relief effort, but don’t know which charity will best spend your money, check out our handy guide of the more reputable text-based charity efforts.

AMERICAN RED CROSS
Text “HAITI” to “90999” to make a $10 donation.

CLINTON BUSH HAITI FUND
Text the word “Quake” to 20222 to donate $10

UNICEF
Text the word “Hope10” or “UNICEF” to 20222 to donate $10

Doctors Without Borders
USA/Medecins Sans Frontieres,
New York, NY 10001-5004; 888-392-0392.

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