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Americans have opened their hearts and wallets to help the victims of the tsunamis, but knowing who to give to can be daunting. Will the organization ensure most of the donation goes for relief efforts? Is the organization reputable? These are some of the questions that Web sites such as www.charitywatch.org, www.charitynavigator.org or www.guidestar.org can help answer. They identify legitimate relief organizations and even rate the charities based on how effective they are at distributing funds. The Center for International Disaster Information also offers the following tips before donating to a disaster incident: *Confirm there is a need for all items being collected-do not make assumptions about the needs of disaster victims. *Deliver items only to organizations having local distribution capacity. It is not enough to gather supplies and send them to an affected region; a sound partnership with a reliable local agency having transport and management capacity is mandatory. *Donate only to organizations that have the ability to transport collected items to the affected region. *Never assume the U.S. Government or any relief agency will transport unsolicited relief items free of charge – it is important to make arrangements for the transportation before collecting any kind of material donations. Never assume that the government or any relief agency will transport donations free of charge (or even for a fee). In the majority of cases, the collecting agency will be responsible for paying commercial rates for the transportation and warehousing of items gathered.

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