The Charity Commission, the independent charity regulator for England and Wales, has released advice for those wishing to donate to help people affected by the humanitarian crisis in East Africa. This follows the launch of the East Africa Crisis Appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) on Wednesday.
Paula Sussex, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, said:
‘The British public is extremely generous, especially at times of desperate humanitarian need like we are seeing in East Africa right now. It is vital that people can continue to give with confidence to charities working to relieve that need, such as through the DEC appeal to its member charities. We want to help ensure they do so safely. We are aware that unfortunately times of crisis can trigger scammers to take advantage of people’s generosity and abuse the name and work of charities by fraudulently collecting money. But by following a few simple steps, you can make sure your donation goes where it is most needed.’
The DEC brings together 13 leading UK aid charities who are experts in humanitarian aid and deliver efficient disaster responses to those affected by the appealed crises. They are all registered charities. The Disasters Emergency Committee will only launch an appeal when disasters reach a scale that requires swift international humanitarian assistance.
Other registered charities are also involved in the relief efforts and are collecting funds to support charity and NGO aid work in East Africa.
The Commission is advising people to take a few simple steps to avoid fraudulent fundraising:
- before giving, check the charity’s name and registration number on our online register of charities – it can help you make an informed decision before donating by providing information about each charity, including its charitable purposes and activities, registered contact details, and its compliance and financial history and accounts
- take care when responding to emails or clicking links to a charity’s website to ensure that they are genuine – instead, search online for your preferred charity to check you have the right web address
- 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 to request further information
- when approached by collectors on the street, check whether they are wearing a proper ID badge and that any collection tin is sealed