TAMPA, Fla. — You've seen the devastation in the videos coming out of the Bahamas. There are so many people left with nothing.  Now, you’re asking how you can help?

There are things to keep in mind before you donate. 

Be careful before you click: 

If you see posts on social media asking for donations with links to relief organizations or you can email soliciting your donations with links, be aware that those could be bogus and lead you to a 3rd party. It’s best to go directly to the nonprofit or charitable organization’s website.

Verifying requests on crowdfunding sites:

It’s hard to ensure that the people you give to will use the money for what they say they will. Give to people you know and trust.

Use reputable charitable advising sites:  

Guidestar.org and CharityNavigator.org are helpful sites that allow you to see the legitimacy of an organization.

Charity Navigator has also created a page for Hurricane Dorian with groups the site recommends. They say the “highly-rated” organizations included in the list “have pre-positioned resources to deliver food, emergency shelter, medical care and other critical items to people impacted by this storm.”

Additionally, charities soliciting within Florida – excluding religions, educational and government entities – are required to register and file financial information with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. To check whether a charitable organization is properly registered, visit Check-A-Charity, a resource that provides the information reported to the department.

RELATED: How you can help the Bahamas and people affected by Hurricane Dorian

Giving Cash versus Donating Items:

Organizations often ask for money versus items because they can use the money to ship supplies they already have. If you’re donating items, ask where they will be used.

If you come across anything you want the 10Investigates team to look into, please reach out to them at TurnTo10@wtsp.com

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