Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Donate to the Gulf cleanup, wisely

By Jen Haley, producer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- TV and newspaper images of oil-drenched beaches and wildlife may have you reaching into your wallet to help. Here's how to make sure you're getting the most out of your charity dollars.

Look for experience

Allocate your dollars to established organizations that have expertise in aiding Gulf communities. While there may be other charities that are eager to help relief efforts, they may lack the resources and management necessary for the job.

Track your money

Find out how the charity plans to spend your dollar. There are a number of ways that organizations are trying to pitch in, from protecting the shoreline and rehabilitating wildlife to advocating for different governmental energy policies. Ask that your donation is used for the company's Gulf-related activities, and not for general support of all its programs or administrative expenses.

Get a second opinion

Check out CNN.com/impact to get an idea of what charities are working in the area. And to check the reputation of the organization, go to the Better Business Bureau at BBB.org/charity.

Keep in mind that the Gulf region will be suffering from the effects of the oil spill for years to come. There will be plenty of opportunities for more donors down the road. If you can't find a cause you can get behind right now, you can always wait a few months and see what new organizations have stepped into action.

Talkback: Have you given to the Gulf oil spill clean-up effort? To top of page

Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.59%3.65%
15 yr fixed2.73%2.78%
5/1 ARM2.96%2.99%
30 yr refi3.63%3.69%
15 yr refi2.77%2.81%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,594.35 -66.36 -0.38%
Nasdaq 4,700.97 -16.12 -0.34%
S&P 500 2,042.74 -7.89 -0.38%
Treasuries 1.76 0.01 0.74%
Data as of 9:35am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Twenty-First Century... 29.84 0.04 0.13%
Williams Companies I... 20.57 1.33 6.91%
Halliburton Co 39.94 0.08 0.20%
AmerisourceBergen Co... 78.00 -6.29 -7.46%
The Kroger Co 34.92 -0.08 -0.23%
Data as of May 5

Sections

Walmart brings its greeters back to store entrances to answer shoppers' questions - and cut down on shoplifting. More

Elon Musk and SpaceX have done it again: The company has successfully landed a rocket on its drone ship. More

Visa says new software will allow consumers to check out with chip cards as fast as swiping a card with magnetic strip. More