The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland is urging people wishing to help victims of typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines to take some precautionary steps to ensure their donation is to a bona fide organisation.
Frances McCandless, Chief Executive of the Commission, commented: "The people of Northern Ireland are very generous when it comes to giving to charities, especially when faced with humanitarian disasters such as the Haiyan typhoon and its aftermath.
"However, while people’s good intentions are to be praised, we would encourage anyone looking to offer help not to attempt to send cash or aid directly to the Philippines themselves.
"There are a number of established and experienced charities working to help the victims in the Philippines which would greatly benefit from the help and efforts of charity givers here.
"If you have raised money to help people in the Philippines or you have been approached for donations, then please undertake a few quick checks first by following our top ten charity giving tips."
The Commission’s top ten tips for informed charity giving are:
Check the list of deemed charities
on the Charity Commission website. Not all charities will be on the list as it is not yet a legal requirement to register with us. The list does, however, show which organisations have registered with HM Revenue and Customs for tax purposes and are therefore subject to the Commission's powers.
Alternatively, you may wish to check to see if the charity is a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee (http://www.dec.org.uk/
), a UK umbrella organisation which launches and coordinates responses to major disasters overseas.
To donate online to a particular charity, look for that charity's website. Check that you have the right web address and that the website is secure.
Be very careful when responding to emails or clicking links on emails. Always check that emails are genuine by looking out for spelling mistakes or other signs that the email is not genuine. If you have any concerns about the legitimacy of a request for donations that appears to come from a charity, don't hesitate to contact that charity directly.
Check whether a collector has the authority to collect. A permit or licence is usually required if raising money in a public place. These permits are obtained through the PSNI at present.
Ask the collector for more information about what donations will be used for. A genuine charity will understand that you may wish to know more and should be happy to answer questions.
Check that the collection tin is sealed and is not damaged.
If in doubt send your donation directly to the charity.
It is always good practice for charities to tell you how much money has been raised and where your money has been used after you have given via emails, a newsletter or other communications.
If you have a concern about a charity
, you can contact the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland and raise a confidential concern about the operation of that charity.
For more information please contact Shirley Kernan, Charity Commission for Northern Ireland Communications Officer, on telephone: 028 3832 0169, mobile: 07827338978 or email: email@example.com