This year, we saw wicked storms hit the coastlines of the United States. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria devastated large populations in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and many other areas. As Americans, most of us feel the need to help the victims of these storms after the fact, which is why for weeks after the storm, grocery and convenience stores in areas across the country had options to donate after each transaction.
We know there’s a need after these disasters. Video clips on our news outlets show thousands of people displaced by the flooding and citizens from around the country open their hearts, and wallets, to those in need. Unfortunately, these large-scale natural disasters make it easier for scammers to take advantage of the situation and make money off of the thoughtfulness of others.
What’s more is these scammers will even try to take advantage of the victims’ already devastating situation and attempt to make money off of their misfortune. Whether you’re just trying to help out or you are the victim of a natural disaster, it’s best to arm yourself with the knowledge of the characteristics of scammer so you and your loved ones avoid giving money to the wrong people.
The first thing to realize is that everyone is susceptible to scammers. Every year, 30 million Americans will fall victim to some sort of scam, and they don’t just fall into one demographic of people. The victims range from the highly educated to less educated and young to the elderly population. Just because you believe you won’t become a victim because you’re smarter than that doesn’t mean it can’t happen to you. The best way to safeguard your money and avoid these scams is by educating yourself on the research done because scammers will inevitably continue to work on their scams so they become more and more foolproof.
Beware of Fake Websites
According to the Center for Internet Security, as Hurricane Harvey began to make landfall over the state of Texas, hundreds of domain names were purchased that contained hurricane-related words, which could be used to look like an actual charity site, but actually, be run by scammers. Always be on high alert when you think you may be entering these sites. The URL address will be similar to a real charity but not exact. For example, the American Red Cross’ website is located at www.redcross.org, if you see a .net or some other variation of this, you can be assured it’s not the officially authorized American Red Cross site. Large organizations will often purchase addresses that are similar so that they are automatically redirected to the official site, but they don’t necessarily get all of the options. For most nonprofit organizations and charities, their website will end in a .org; always be mindful but especially if the website address ends in a .com or .net.
Check it out
Before donating to any organization, make sure you know they are an official charity or nonprofit organization. There are several options online to check the validity of an organization such as Charity Navigator and GuideStar. GiveWell also gives an in-depth look into what the organization is doing, how effective they are at giving back to their mission, and overall transparency. This will give you a clear understanding of just how much good they are doing and whether you would like to be associated with them.
Don’t give to door-to-door solicitors
When you get a knock on your door from a charity representative, put your guard up. Reputable charities are starting to steer away from door to door fundraising because most people are already leery of that the representatives could be scammers and not actual representatives. If you do answer the door, tell them you aren’t comfortable giving money this way. If it is a reputable charity, they will give you a pamphlet with information on it to donate money. If they don’t leave it at that and attempt to pressure you into giving money, end the conversation right away. Scammers will try to manipulate your goodwill by trying to pressure you, while reputable charities will understand your apprehension. It’s always good to keep in the back of your mind that anyone could pose as a charity representative with the right information in tow, so do your research after you talk to them before you give them money.
No charity donates all the proceeds
When someone asks you for a donation to their cause and tells you that all the money will go to the cause, get on the defensive. Every single charity and nonprofit organization has some level of fees they have to pay for in order to keep it afloat. Administrative costs and fundraising costs are typically paid for as cheaply as possible, but they’re still costs that need to be paid for.
Fake policy cancellation calls
After a natural disaster, homeowners that sustain damage to their homes are fearful that their insurance policy will not cover the damages. Scammers have taken advantage of this fear by calling homeowners and telling them that their policy will be canceled unless they pay for it immediately. If you receive one of these calls, hang up immediately and call your insurance company. An agent will be able to tell you if your account is actually past due. Never give your personal information to anyone if you’re unsure if they’re actually who they say they are.
It’s unfortunate that scammers come out of the woodwork in times of natural disaster when all anyone wants to do is help the affected. Be mindful of potential scams and stay up to date on recent scams by visiting the Federal Trade Commission’s website for Consumer Information.
We live in a world where there are so many non-profit organizations looking for volunteers. With this kind of variety at our disposal, the issue is not so much finding one but finding one that will be more suited to you and what you hope to accomplish. Whether it is helping with animals once a week, or building a house once a year, there are opportunities out there to fit those needs, and it is simply a matter of finding them. Luckily, with technology vastly growing, there are many websites catered to finding the right volunteer opportunity in your community.
VolunteerMatch has about 77,000 different opportunities, so you are certainly going to be able to find something that best suits you. It also has an easy to use a database that allows you to cater the search to what you are looking for. You simply have to type in your zip code and a keyword about the kind of activity you want, and it will give you a list of opportunities in your area for that particular activity.
Idealist.org is another great site that allows you to find volunteer possibilities. It caters to what you want and what you are looking for to help you find the exact kind of opportunities you need. Similar to VolunteerMatch, you type in your city, and then there is a drop-down sidebar that allows you to look for events. The site also updates you on ongoing volunteer opportunities, as well as one time asks from non-profits. Also, if you are looking for a career in this field, you can search for jobs and internships that are available.
SmartVolunteer works under the motto of “skills-based giving – it’s not just for lawyers anymore.” With this mantra, SmartVolunteer provides a simple way to donate your skills to charitable organizations and other places looking for volunteer work. The opportunities this site emphasizes are in finance, technology, marketing, and human resources; and the best part is that if you are unable to go to the site, you can search for “virtual” opportunities where you would need a computer with reliable Internet connection.
All For Good
All For Good is the largest online database for finding volunteer opportunities, so you are bound to find something that suits your needs to make a difference. Every month, they update their site with 150,000 volunteer listings in major cities. All For Good also helps United We Serve and is also part of Point of Light which is the largest volunteer network in the world.
Looking for charitable organizations which offer child sponsorships can be a difficult task when you consider the potential risks that may arise. You never know whether or not your money is going to the cause you believe in; with that in mind, it is important to do the necessary research when you decide you want to make such a long-term commitment, even if the amount is small. Here are some tips that should help you as you search for a suitable child sponsorship program.
You want to consider the countries that the child sponsorship program targets as some of them offer children in more than one country. It is important to determine which country you are truly invested in; ask yourself if you even have a preference for which country you focus on; you will find that most organizations focus on countries in Africa and Asia, but there are also plenty of potential opportunities available here in the United States. So considering your preferences for location is a great first step in the right direction.
Is it individual or community-based
As you continue on your search, you will find that there are programs that offer programs where the money will go directly to the child you are sponsoring, and then there will be other programs that will take the money to support the community where the child lives. Both will be focused on helping with improving these children’s’ lives in areas such as education, better nutrition, and medical care. So think about what you want the money to go towards; would you rather the money go directly to the child or their community?
Do they work well with money?
It is your money, after all, so you want to be sure that where you are donating is fiscally responsible. You want to make finding an organization that is accountable and has a good track record of using their funds a top concern when considering where to be a sponsor. You want to be sure that the money they receive goes to that specific cause you want it to go to and isn’t being allocated to fundraising and administrative needs. Look for financial reports as these child sponsorship charities should be pretty transparent with that and if you are unable to find it, that should immediately be a red flag.
This might seem like to most practical thing to consider, but you want to know how much it costs to be a sponsor. You want to be sure that it is something that you can reasonably work into your budget where you can make that long-term commitment. Most charities have a flat monthly that ranges anywhere from $10 to $100.
Terry currently serves as the Managing Director of Strategies Now, Inc. Over the years, Terry Newmyer’s work in the health industry has allowed him to hone skills such as strategic planning, mission guided leadership, market reach, wealth building through partnerships and philanthropies, product development, and physician recruitment and relations.
In 2013, Terry Newmyer came to Florida and opened the Strategies Now office, where he delivers marketing strategies to clients and works across multiple industries to support growth and development to achieve the projected results of their vision.
Early Career and Healthcare
Soon after receiving his Master’s degree at Andrews University, Terry became the Senior Vice President of the Lakeland Regional Health System in St. Joseph, Michigan, where he was responsible for marketing, planning, communications, managed care, education, physician services, and foundation management. Between 1988 and 1994, Terry helped increase the system-wide revenue from $65 million annually to $250 million. Terry later moved to Dallas and worked as a consultant for KPMG LLP, National Strategy Practice, where he started as a Manager and became a partner. There, Terry was responsible for launching a new consulting office that within two years of opening included twenty consultants and was achieving $10 million of annual revenue.
Terry Newmyer went on to found Strategies Now Inc., where he now serves as Managing Director. Terry then moved to Florida, where he resides today, to continue his work at Florida Hospital as the Senior Vice President of Business Development and Chief Development Officer. One achievement at Florida Hospital included securing sixteen new alliance contracts worth over $90 million of net value to the Hospital with various Fortune 500 companies such as GE, Walt Disney World, Olympus, and Nike. In 2007, the company completed a $100 million fundraising campaign over a year ahead of schedule and the following year exceeded the goal by $30 million.
Terry Newmyer was eventually offered a position as the President and CEO of Northern California Network Adventist Health in California and was responsible for the management of five different hospitals. During his tenure, the flagship hospital, St. Helena Napa Valley, earned the designation from NRC Picker for being the hospital in the Western USA with the highest overall patient satisfaction and received five-star recognition from Health Grades in twelve different service lines.
Terry attended Atlantic Union College in Massachusetts for his undergraduate studies, where he received of Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and was awarded distinguished honors as a cross scholar. Upon graduation, he attended Andrews University in Michigan for his Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in marketing.
At Andrews University, Terry Newmyer was the Coordinator of Student Labor and housing, the Director of Marketing and Student Financial Services. He was also the President of Andrews Industries. Terry was responsible for various ranges of tasks, including managing a student apartment complex, networking both in and outside of the college community, keeping records of student finances, and managing diversified enterprises at Andrews University. As the President of Andrews Industries, Terry Newmyer was responsible for six businesses that that included a furniture factory, printer, bindery, retail plaza, motel, and an electronics company.