DMANF Urges Support for Katrina Victims
WASHINGTON, DC, September 1, 2005 – Nonprofit organizations from across the country are gathering forces to help areas affected by Hurricane Katrina, and they need your help now.
"We cannot fully measure the scope of the need in the devastated region, but we know that the generosity of every American can have a positive impact. Even small donations will make a big difference," said Senny Boone, executive director of The Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation (DMANF).
The DMANF urges the generous American public to continue to lend its support to relief efforts by making monetary contributions to one of the many charitable organizations that are mobilizing to respond to this crisis.
Over the next several days, weeks and months, many DMANF members will be providing relief to hurricane victims ranging from emergency food and shelter to assistance in rebuilding flood-ravaged communities.
Well-known organizations, such as those that are members of the DMANF, are highly trustworthy and deserve support as they provide relief to Katrina’s victims. But the donating public should always blend caution with its generosity. With almost every disaster comes some unscrupulous person, company, or organization that will try to take unfair advantage. The following are some guidelines to help consumers choose wisely when making decisions about charitable donations.
- Ask how your donation will be used. The organization should provide detailed information up front and a contact reference for after the campaign. Find out what the charity intends to do should any excess contributions remain after they have fully funded the disaster relief activities mentioned.
- Look for financial information about the organization. The organization should provide you with their annual reports, or Form 990s upon request. For many established organizations, IRS Form 990's are available on-line at www.guidestar.org. Ask a new organization how their financial information is currently available. For many religious organizations not required to file Form 990 and for new organizations, ask them directly how and where their information is currently available.
- Make sure the organization is registered in your state. Your state attorney general's office can tell you if the organization is registered with the state. If you believe fraudulent activity is taking place, please report it immediately to prevent further harm. Contact information for these offices, including links to the respective Web sites can be found at www.nasconet.org. If your state is not listed, call your attorney general.
- Do not give cash. Legitimate organizations will take a check and often will take credit cards. Do not give cash, especially if the organization is offering to pick it up through a courier.
- Know who you are talking to. If you are contacted by telephone, ask about the caller's relationship to the organization. A legitimate organization may use the services of professional fundraisers, volunteers, and staff, depending on the needs of that particular organization, and will assure that callers readily explain who they are and why they are calling. Ask for the callback information and an address if there is cause for concern.
- Watch out for online "spoofing." If you receive an e-mail request, be cautious when clicking on a link from an e-mail that appears to be sent from a legitimate source. The e-mail may have the logo and even the correct "sent from" source. Furthermore, the site link may even look like the real organization. To avoid this, go to the organization's web site directly. If you are unsure of the Web address, go to your favorite search engine and enter the organization's name. When donating online, make sure that you enter your personal information only on a site that is secured.
- Be cautious of high-pressure tactics. Legitimate organizations are professional and courteous when asking for your support. Be cautious of high-pressure tactics, but do not be deterred from aiding this vital relief and reconstruction effort. Should a solicitation from an organization you do not know give you pause, please send your donation to an organization you do know and trust.
About The DMA Nonprofit Federation:
Since 1982, The DMA Nonprofit Federation (DMANF) and its predecessor organizations have been aggressive and effective advocates for nonprofits in postal, regulatory, legislative, and accountability issues. The Federation is the premier agent for improving public awareness and receptivity to direct/interactive marketing-driven philanthropy, and is the ‘top brand’ among all associations and advocacy groups working on behalf of nonprofits in this area. With more than 300 members, The DMANF is one of the largest member segments of the Direct Marketing Association and is the leading association for member organizations that use direct and interactive marketing media such as mail, telephone, and the Internet to communicate with donors, members, customers, and the public. The DMANF's full-time staff, located in Washington, DC, is assisted by legal counsel for regulatory and postal matters, and supplemented by the resources and professional staff of The DMA.