Charleston, W.Va. – In the wake of the worst mining disaster in West Virginia since 1968 when 78 men died in the No. 9 mine explosion Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant is urging people to beware emotional pleas from questionable charities.
“How West Virginians take care of their neighbors in need is one of our most wonderful traits,” Tennant said. “This is an emotional time, and so many people want to do whatever they can to help. There are many charities that will be helping the families of the miners who were lost, and I truly appreciate what they are doing. But I urge people to be careful – there might also be charities out there that will take advantage of emotions to try to run scams.”
The Secretary of State’s Office maintains a detailed database of charities. People can search by charity name or by city. Information about how much money a charity took in, and how they disbursed those donations can also be found.
There is a link at the top of the Secretary of State’s website (www.wvsos.com
) that takes you directly to the charities database.
There are easy ways to spot a charity that may be looking to take advantage of your generosity:
- Emotional pleas that make you feel guilty about not donating.
- High pressure pleas that don’t give you a chance to reconsider a pledge that you’ve already given.
- Dodging questions about whether the charity is licensed to solicit donations in West Virginia.
- Charities that have similar names to more well known and respected organizations.
- Charities that solicit via email and ask for your bank account numbers.
There are several charities, such as the American Red Cross, that are not listed on the online database because they are monitored on the national level. However, the Red Cross is a vital part of the ongoing effort to help the miner’s families and the rescue workers trying to locate the miners who are still missing.
Donations made to the Red Cross will go toward Local Disaster Relief, such as setting up shelters to feed family members, rescue workers, and emergency personnel.
Red Cross spokesperson Tara Hines said the organization is working closely with the West Virginia Council of Churches.
In order for a charity to be listed on the Secretary of State’s website, it had to have received more than $25,000 in donations during the last year.