Giving to Boston’s victims: How to choose a charity

April 19th, 2013

By Barbara Bogaev | Marketplace | marketplace.org | April 19, 2013

Between the bombing in Boston and the deadly explosion in Texas there are hundreds of Americans still in the hospital, many of them facing large hospital and rehab costs. After tragedies like these, home-grown charities usually pop up immediately to help with expenses. Ken Berger, president and CEO of Charity Navigator, a website which ranks philanthropic organizations based on performance, joins us to talk about donating.

"We're seeing a variety of charities popping up, none of them that have any track record that we know of. For example, there's a group in Boston called TUGG that's raising funds. Of course, in the case of Boston -- as was the case in New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy -- the governor has organized a fund," says Berger.

Berger says people have given a lot -- millions of dollars have already been raised. But how do you choose which charity to give to?

"A lot of it has to do with risk and expectations. The faster you want to see your money move, the higher the risk. If you're willing to wait a while, you lower your risk substantially, but the concern is victims and family need support right away. So it's a trade off. So there's no easy answer," says Berger. "Our general recommendation is to go slow because then you know for certain it's a reputable organization with a track record or even a new organization like one organized by the governor and the mayor that has the gravitas that eventually the money will get there. That's really the key: the faster you go, the higher the likelihood you're going to get ripped off."

If you're looking for a charity to help victims in the Boston bombing, Charity Navigator has these suggestions:

Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund

The four time 4-star Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund has created the Boston Marathon Relief Fund. Money raised will support the charity's efforts to send "staff, volunteers, and amputees wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan to Boston, to provide encouragement, guidance and immediate financial support to victims and their families."

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