Online Fundraising An Invaluable Tool For Disaster Relief

American Red Cross
Sunday, 11 September 2005

Donors Should Be Wary of Potential Scams

Online fundraising is one of the most essential parts of fundraising for the American Red Cross and many other major charities across the country. Of the $503 million raised to date for Hurricane Katrina, $265.1 million has been raised through online donations. However, generous internet surfers should be wary to ensure that they don't get taken advantage by a scammer looking to capitalize on the misfortune of others.

"Online fundraising is critical, especially during times of disaster, because it immediately provides the Red Cross with the resources that it needs for effective disaster response," said Sue Woodward, Director of Direct Response Fundraising. "About 53% of money that the Red Cross has received for Hurricane Katrina is from online channels, including redcross.org and our online partners that are assisting us in handling the large volume of generous donations."

The American Red Cross considers the security of the donation website www.redcross.org and its donors to be of paramount importance. As such, the organization uses several layers of protective measures including, but not limited to, blocking and filtering technologies, surveillance, system updates and anti-fraud measures. In addition, the Red Cross performs system vulnerability assessments using internal resources and external, third-party assessments.

E-mail solicitation is another tool used by the Red Cross in its fundraising efforts. However, e-mails will only be sent to individuals that chose to receive the monthly electronic newsletter that the Red Cross produces, titled the "One Minute Update", or to donors that previously made a contribution. Do not respond to any unsolicited e-mails asking for money. It is most likely a scam. And, note that the Red Cross never asks for personal information in an email. This is done only at our official site.

Nationally, the Red Cross also partners with several different web sites for cash donations to ensure that our donors can give the Red Cross quickly despite the recent influx of donations. These sites include Amazon.com, Apple's iTunes Music Store, Convio, Microsoft/MSN, Network for Good and Yahoo. Donors may give to one of our official partners or through our website. To see a list of our official national donation sites and their URLs please visit, http://www.redcross.org/officialdonationsites.

About The American Red Cross

American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of thousands of disasters across the country each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need. Call 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Donations are being accepted at Coinstar machines at select grocery stores across America. To find the nearest Coinstar machine, visit www.findcoinstar.com. Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.redcross.org

For more information, or to contact American Red Cross, see their website at: www.redcross.org

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