If there is one good thing about a disaster such as Michael, it’s that it brings out the good in a lot of us. Over the last couple of weeks, many of us have sacrificed time, money, sleep, and effort to assist our friends and neighbors who have lost almost…if not… everything. Many of our daily routines are now filled with new activities like supply runs, giving money, or other relief related activities.
It is sensational to see how big our hearts are…and sad that it had to be revealed through such a tragedy. Another sad thing is that, while a lot of good is being done, we still must be careful how we perpetuate that good…meaning, not everyone or every organization has replaced their self interests for more altruistic ones.
We all hear of the rogue construction guys, tree removal companies, and other services scamming our desperate friends out of their hard earned money or insurance benefits, but unfortunately, we forget that there are also fake nonprofits, individual scammers setting up gofundme accounts, and the like that are praying on those assisting with disaster relief.
So, how do you tell if an organization is legit?
First of all, any legitimate 501(c)3 nonprofit can show you their approval letter from the IRS. (For Example, ours is below:)
Secondly, any legitimate nonprofit will be registered in their respective state as Nonprofit or Not for profit corporation.
If they are a Florida nonprofit, you can do a quick and easy name search via Sunbiz.org at this link. This is not to say that there aren’t many organizations or for profit business’s not doing good for Michael survivors…because there are, but there are also organizations representing themselves as nonprofits…and are not registered with the State…which means they are not a legitimate organization.
Finally, ask the organization questions. If they are legitimate, they should have no issues telling you exactly what you want to know about how your donations, and time will be utilized in their relief efforts.
Side Note: We have also seen several gofundme style crowdfunding campaigns and even individual local events/donation drives set up since Michael made landfall. While it is definitely your business what you do with your time, money, and supply donations, just be careful as some of these are only helping single individuals…or even worse, only helping to enrich scammers.
If you’re looking to get the biggest bang for your time, for your donated supplies, and especially for your money, there are several legitimate nonprofits out there helping hundreds or even thousands of people everyday….Whether you support us here at Preserving South Walton, INC, or not, just be sure that the organization you are supporting is legitimate. God Bless