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How to best donate to Nepal earthquake victims
Americans are poised to open their wallets for Nepali earthquake aid, but it's hard to know which aid organizations are responsible with donations. - photo by Chandra Johnson
It's natural for Americans seeing the devastation in the wake of the earthquake that killed thousands in Nepal to want to donate aid.

It's also become customary for major news outlets like Time magazine and CNN, in addition to covering the disaster, to provide easy-to-understand lists of aid organizations concerned citizens can donate to.

But in the wake of recent disasters like Hurricane Sandy and the earthquake in Haiti, Americans have been giving less to relief aid. The Associated Press reported last year that far fewer donations came in trying to help victims of the Ebola outbreak in Africa or natural disasters that killed scores in Pakistan and the Philippines.

One reason is known as "disaster fatigue," where too many disasters simply happen in tandem, making donors feel hopeless about the situation and therefore less optimistic that their donations will make a difference.

While disaster victims most certainly need foreign aid when natural disasters strike without warning, another reason giving donors pause could be how donations are distributed, says the Maryland nonprofit Disaster Accountability Project.

The nonprofit reported widely on large chunks of New York state donation money allegedly not being funneled to victims in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Hurricane Sandy relief was not unique. ABC News reported in 2010 about how many well-known charity organizations, including the Red Cross, spent fractions of what was donated to victims of the Haiti earthquake for reasons including poor coordination. Other aid organizations, like Haiti quake relief organization Yele, have collapsed in the wake of fraud.

As Forbes' Caroline Mayer wrote, donors need to know their aid organization well so they won't donate in the dark especially in the age of online giving. Organizations like Charity Navigator and Wise Giving Alliance have their own rankings for the most responsible charities.

"If you want to give online, go to the charitys website on your own," Mayer wrote. "If you dont know the official site, you can often find links at Charity Navigator and the Wise Giving Alliance."
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