In the wake of multiple wildfires throughout our region, the Better Business Bureau offers the following tips to help you decide where to direct donations to assist fire victims and their families.  Be cautious.  If making a donation online, do so directly on a charity’s website, not via a link in email or other website you might be visiting.

Check out the charity. Visit BBB Wise Giving Alliance to research charities and relief organizations to verify that they are accredited by the BBB and meet the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.

Be wary of claims that 100 percent of donations will assist relief victims. No matter what an organization claims, it still has fund-raising and administrative costs. Even a credit card donation involves a processing fee.

Find out if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the impacted areas. Beware of those that don’t have staff available to provide assistance quickly.

Check out charity campaigns before giving via a mobile device. Official mobile giving campaigns in support of emergency relief efforts are restricted to qualified campaigns, and can be verified by visiting

Gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations. In-kind drives for food and clothing – while well-intentioned – may not necessarily be the quickest way to help those in need. Ask the charity about its transportation and distribution plans, and find out what is the greatest need. Be wary of those not experienced in disaster relief assistance.

Start With Trust. For trustworthy consumer tips and information, visit or call 970-484-1348 or 800-564-0371.

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