(WJW) – Americans have been stunned by the escalating conflict in Ukraine, with some having family or other personal ties to the country, which is now trying to defend itself from Russia’s powerful military.

Many are looking for ways to help the people of Ukraine during this time by donating to charities raising funds for assistance and emergency relief.

The Better Business Bureau has some advice before you make the donation, however, to make sure your money is going to legitimate operations.

The organization said you can verify a charity’s trustworthiness by viewing an evaluative report completed by BBB Wise Giving Alliance at Give.org.
 

Be sure to keep the following in mind before giving your donation:

  • Can the charity get to the impacted area? Not all relief organizations will be positioned to provide relief quickly.
  • See if the charity already has a presence in Ukraine or nearby countries.
  • If you are wondering where to donate, local drives to collect clothing and food to send overseas may not be practical, the BBB cautions. Logistics and timing to deliver and disperse such items will be challenging.
  • See if the charity is experienced in providing emergency relief. Experienced disaster relief charities are the best choice to help deliver aid as soon as possible. Newer charities may have difficulty in following through, even if they have the best of intentions.
  • Are you considering crowdfunding appeals? If engaging in crowdfunding, it is safest to give to someone you know and trust and review the platform’s policies regarding fees and distribution of collected funds. If the crowdfunding request is from a charity, check out the group by visiting Give.org.
  • Does the appeal make exaggerated financial claims? All charities have fundraising and administrative expenses. Any charity claiming that “100% will be spent on relief” is potentially misleading the donating public. Even a credit card donation will have a processing fee.

Be sure to check a list of BBB Accredited Charities currently raising funds for assistance efforts in Ukraine or preparing for needs that could arise if conflict results in population displacement.

If you spot a scam, report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker. These reports can help others avoid falling victim to fraudulent charities. Consumers can also visit the Scam Tracker website to view the latest reported scams in your area, as well as across the country.