The first spam e-mails to get people to donate to the Haiti earthquake victims are already showing up in people’s in boxes.
So if you want to give to the Haiti relief efforts, the best advice is to give to an agency you know. The most efficient charities spend at least 75 percent of their budget on their programs and services and 25 percent or less on fundraising and administrative fees.
Below you'll find some helpful ways to check out the charities you want to help and some of the more unique ways in which you can help the relief efforts in Haiti.
Guidestar.org is one of my favorite sites for checking out charities. They have a pretty in-depth list of charities and you can pull up their 990 forms which each charity is required to file with the government every year. It will tell you how much money the charity pulls in and how much it pays in salaries and administrative costs.
You will need to register with the site in order to read the reports, but the registration is free and the information is well worth it.
Charity Navigator is another site that offers helpful information on 5,400 charities across the country. This site also lists some helpful information for those wanting to donate to the Haiti relief effort including what not to do and the top organizations to which people are donating.
The Better Business Bureau puts together reports on about 1,000 charities across the country. You can check out those reports here. You can find information on how the organization rates charities here.
Unique ways to help Haiti
The American Red Cross is allowing people to text and make a donation. All you have to do is text the word “HAITI” to 90999 and $10 will be added to your next cell phone bill. That money will be donated to the American Red Cross. On Thursday alone the donations collected totaled more than $3 million.
Starwood Hotels is allowing people to turn their hotel points into a donation to the American Red Cross. If you have 4,000 points that equals a $50 donation to the American Red Cross all the way up to 16,000 points for a $200 donation.
American Airlines is giving AAdvantage members a one-time bonus if they donate to the American Red Cross. Make a minimum $50 contribution through their website and you will get 250 bonus miles or a $100 minimum donation and get 500 bonus miles.