From the Better Business Bureau:
The tragedy this week at Sparks Middle School will inspire many in the Truckee Meadows to want to help the families affected by the shooting. Our hearts often move us to action including giving to fund raising efforts. BBB offers tips to help donors give wisely.
Take time to check out the charity to avoid wasting your generosity by donating to a questionable or poorly managed effort. The first request for a donation may not be the best choice. Be proactive and find trusted charities that are providing assistance. Keep an eye out for vague appeals that do little more than tug at your heart. Reports on 11,000 charities are available at bbb.org.
Never click on links to charities on unfamiliar websites or in texts or emails. These may take you to a lookalike website where you will be asked to provide personal financial information or to click on something that downloads harmful malware into your computer. Don't assume that charity recommendations on Facebook, blogs or other social media have already been vetted.
Respecting Victims and Their Families
Organizations raising funds should get permission from the families to use either the names of the victims and/or any photographs of them. If a family sets up their own assistance fund, be mindful that such funds may not be set up as charities. Also, make sure that collected monies are received and administered by a third party such as a bank, CPA or attorney. This will help provide oversight and ensure the collected funds are used appropriately.
Tragedies can also generate requests from a variety of advocacy organizations, some that may not even be located in Nevada. Donors can support these efforts as well but note that some of these advocacy groups are not tax exempt as charities.
Newly Created Organizations
This is a personal giving choice, but an established charity will more likely have the experience to quickly address the circumstances and have a track record that can be evaluated. A newly formed organization may be well-meaning but will be difficult to check out and may not be well managed.
From Better Business Bureau