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

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.21%4.16%
15 yr fixed3.27%3.25%
5/1 ARM3.51%3.38%
30 yr refi4.20%4.15%
15 yr refi3.27%3.24%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,240.50 83.65 0.49%
Nasdaq 4,584.49 22.30 0.49%
S&P 500 2,009.18 7.61 0.38%
Treasuries 2.63 0.03 1.04%
Data as of 11:48am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 17.04 0.27 1.58%
Yahoo! Inc 41.76 -0.84 -1.96%
Apple Inc 102.08 0.50 0.49%
General Electric Co 26.27 0.22 0.84%
Regions Financial Co... 10.56 0.18 1.78%
Data as of 11:34am ET

Sections

PepsiCo CEO Nooyi says Goodell is man of integrity and she's confident he'll do the right thing to deal with domestic violence crisis. More

The Federal Reserve is probably not going to raise interest rates until the summer of 2015 at the earliest. More

NASA has turned over the shuttle program to two companies, Boeing and Elon Musk's SpaceX. The agency wants to pursue something far sexier. More

Immigrant entrepreneurs leverage connections abroad to boost international exports -- and non-immigrants could stand to learn from their tactics. More

Occupy Wall Street offshoot Strike Debt says it has abolished nearly $4 million in private student loan debt for students who attended Everest College, part of Corinthian Colleges. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.