The recent tornado that affected Oklahoma City and the surrounding neighborhoods has led to an outpouring of support for the community, especially financial donations. In addition to donations making their way to charities such as the American Red Cross and the United Way, crowd-funding campaigns have sprung up on sites like Fundly, IndieGoGo, and GoFundMe.
Crowd-funding campaigns to aid disaster relief have increased in usage over recent years. Once known for only generating funds for small businesses and start-up businesses, crowd-funding has grown into a way for charities and those in need to reach out to donors quickly. Crowd-funding websites allow organizers to collect and direct funds for general relief efforts as well as create fund-raising campaigns that are specific to families who have been affected by loss.
According to CNN Money one crowd-funding campaign, the 2013 Midwest Tornado relief campaign, has already raised more than $1 million on Fundly. Another campaign on the website HopeMob has raised $41K from donors.
With the increasing use and growing number of crowd-funding sites available, it’s important to keep in mind that scams can occur. Many if not most of these sites have methods in place to verify campaign organizers, but it’s still possible for experienced scam artists to slip through. Be sure to keep this in mind when you consider donating to a crowd-funding relief effort. Just as you would with any other donation, do your own research. You can learn about the organizers of the campaign via social media or by contacting them directly and find out as much as you can, just as you would with any donation you make.