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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Do a little research before donating to the cause

STILLWATER, Okla. – Many Oklahomans experience a certain level of empathy when they see areas ravished by tornadoes.

There are many different ways in which people can donate money, food, water, clothing and supplies. However, while most of these are valid and helpful charities, there can be a few snakes in the grass, said Sissy Osteen, head of Oklahoma State University's Department of Human Development and Family Science.

“Unfortunately, scammers will try and play on our emotions in times like this,” she said. “People just need to remember to check into the charity before making any donations.”

The Federal Trade Commission advises to avoid any charity that:

  • Refuses to provide detailed information about its identity, mission, costs and how donations will be used
  • Will not provide proof donations are tax deductible
  • Uses a name closely resembling that of a better-known organization
  • Uses high-pressure tactics to get donations before you have time to think about it and do some research
  • Asks for donations in cash
  • Offers to send a courier to collect donations immediately
  • Guarantees sweepstakes winnings in exchange for contributions

“There is nothing wrong with wanting to help those in need,” Osteen said. “Everyone should do all they can to help raise funds for the victims of this terrible tornado. It is what we consider ‘the Oklahoma Spirit.’ That is more easily accomplished if a little legwork is done before any checks are written or money is exchanged. Most of us want to know that the donations we make are actually helping the people that we want to help.”


Sean Hubbard
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
145 Agriculture North
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 405-744-4490
Fax: 405-744-5739

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078