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2012 Year of Wildfires and a Superstorm: Be Careful How You Give

PHOTO: If you are going to make a financial donation this holiday season,  there are proven sites like charitynavigator.org for checking out charities.
PHOTO: If you are going to make a financial donation this holiday season, there are proven sites like charitynavigator.org for checking out charities.
December 10, 2012

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Wildfires charred the West and Superstorm Sandy clobbered the East this year. Nevada consumer advocates encourage holiday donations for disaster relief, but they also caution that some homework is in order.

Las Vegas attorney Beverly Salhanick suggests you think for a moment, on-line or on the phone, before you make a donation.

"When you're looking at helping someone who has been in a disaster, check out that organization just as you would check out any organization you'd be giving a charitable gift to."

Salhanick suggests turning to a website called www.guidestar.org to confirm if a nonprofit is registered with the IRS. You can also call the Better Business Bureau to check out a charity.

Salhanick says you don't have to live near a disaster, and your gift doesn't have to be a monetary donation.

"We've all seen that photograph of a New York police officer providing boots for the homeless person. Anywhere you are in the country, there's always someone who's in need, and it may be that one little gesture that may be your charitable gift for the year."

If you are going to make a financial donation, Salhanick says there are proven sites like www.charitynavigator.org for checking out charities. She also suggests a newer resource that uses social media input, www.greatnonprofits.org.

"It's a social comment site; it's kind of like a "YELP" for charities. You get an impression of what their position is within the community."

Salhanick says the feedback you get can help you decide if the organization deserves your charity dollars for disaster relief or for any other purpose.

Further information is available at www.guidestar.org, www.charitynavigator.org and www.greatnonprofits.org.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NV