September 20, 2017

Wise Giving Wednesday: Will Donors Get Disaster Fatigue?

As this blog is being written, the news reports a 7.1 earthquake shook central Mexico including Mexico city and a category 4 hurricane, Maria, threatens Puerto Rico.  As details of the expected devastation emerge, we brace ourselves for images of more pain, suffering and the rush to rescue victims of these tragedies. Charitable relief organizations will quickly rally to address these disasters and donors will respond to help.

These latest events, however, coming so soon after the horrendous impacts of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, raise the question of whether donors will eventually suffer disaster fatigue?  The donating public has demonstrated time and time again that their generosity seems ever present but at some point relief organizations may be concerned whether that well will begin to run dry.  It is difficult to recall when so many disasters have occurred in a close period of time.

Another potential concern is that as we enter the last quarter of the year which includes the holiday giving season, many charities are counting on the generosity of contributors to support their causes during the most active time for giving. Past experience has shown that donors will continue to fund their favorites as well as other charities during the holiday season, despite earlier tragedy fundraising. Let’s hope that is the case this time as well.  

All of this, in our view, points to the increasing importance of checking out charities before donating to ensure that your hard earned dollars are going to trustworthy organizations. Visit to find out if a charity meets the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.

 As part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to provide a video that features Keith Laughlin, President of  Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (a BBB Accredited Charity.) This organization partners with communities to transform unused railroad corridors into multi-use trails that protect landscapes, revitalize local economies and give Americans the opportunity to lead healthy, active lives. 


Finally, remember to let us know by going to if you are  interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.  

H. Art Taylor, President & CEO
BBB Wise Giving Alliance