New HampshireDepartment of JusticeOffice of the Attorney General

News Release

For Immediate Release
September 14, 2017

Thomas J. Donovan, Director of Charitable Trusts
James T. Boffetti, Chief, Consumer Protection Bureau

Helping Victims of Hurricane Irma

Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald releases the following statement regarding Hurricane Irma and its aftermath:

A major natural disaster has again hit the United States. Many in New Hampshire want to help. As with Hurricane Harvey, we encourage all New Hampshire citizens who wish to assist those in need in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma to do so.

However, it is important to be cautious before making a gift. When disaster strikes, there are scam artists who take advantage of people's good intentions and set up fake appeals to assist those in need. We again encourage New Hampshire citizens to consider the following steps in order to increase the likelihood that donations will actually reach people in needed states and territories affected by Irma.

  • Give to well-recognized charities that have a track record of service. Larger reliefcharities receive ratings from Charity Navigator, Better Business Bureau's Wise GivingAlliance and GuideStar. Visit those websites first. Also research the organization's website that you are considering for support.
  • While many well-meaning people want to send material items like food and clothing to hurricane victims, experts say that at times of disaster, money donations are the mosteffective. There may be transportation costs and shipping delays with sending supplies. Aid workers can best coordinate the purchase and transport of relief supplies from locations closer to the disaster area.
  • Unless you know the people seeking donations, think twice before giving to individuals raising money through online giving sites such as GoFundMe or YouCaring. You cannot be sure that your gift will be used as intended, plus donations to individuals are not tax deductible. Instead, look for online giving campaigns, whether appearing on GoFundMe, Facebook or elsewhere that benefit charitable organizations assisting a larger number of people. Again, check out the organization that will receive the money.
  • Sometimes celebrities lend their name to fundraising efforts by organizing peer-to-peer crowd funding campaigns shared on social media. Some celebrities are already raising money for Hurricane Irma relief, as they did for Hurricane Harvey. Before clicking to give, research precisely who will receive the donation. You may find that it may not be a charitable organization.
  • Be especially cautious if you receive an email message or telephone call asking for money for hurricane relief. Do not give on the spot. Research the organization before you agree to give. Do not give out credit card information over the telephone.

In sum, New Hampshire citizens can make a difference by donating to assist those who need help as a result of natural disasters. However, New Hampshire citizens should do their homework before making a gift. If citizens have questions, they should call the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-888-468-4454.

New Hampshire Department of Justice
1 Granite Place South | Concord, NH | 03301
Telephone: 603-271-3658