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(Watch our story above with a local professor who just returned from Ukraine addresses invasion impacting his family.)

CLEVELAND (WJW)– Many Northeast Ohio-area residents are feeling the escalating conflict in Ukraine personally in their homes, with most of them having close ties to the country.

Cleveland has one of the highest populations of Ukrainian immigrants, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. With that in mind, we know many want to help the people of Ukraine during this time by donating to charities raising funds for assistance and emergency relief.

The Better Business Bureau wants to issue a warning and offer advice before you make the donation to make sure your money is going to relief operations that are legit.

The organization said you can verify a charity’s trustworthiness by viewing an evaluative report completed by BBB Wise Giving Alliance at

Be sure to also ask the following questions before giving your donation:

  • Can the charity get to the impacted area? Not all relief organizations will be positioned to provide relief quickly.
  • See if the charity already has a presence in Ukraine or nearby countries.
  • If you are wondering what to donate to the BBB cautions, local drives to collect clothing and food to send overseas may not be practical. Logistics and timing to deliver and disperse such items will be challenging.
  •  See if the charity is experienced in providing emergency relief? Experienced disaster relief charities are the best choice to help deliver aid as soon as possible. Newer charities may have difficulty in following through even if they have the best of intentions.
  • Are you considering crowdfunding appeals? If engaging in crowdfunding, it is safest to give to someone you know and trust and review the platform’s policies regarding fees and distribution of collected funds. If the crowdfunding request is from a charity, check out the group by visiting
  • Does the appeal make exaggerated financial claims? All charities have fundraising and administrative expenses. Any charity claiming that “100% will be spent on relief” is potentially misleading the donating public. Even a credit card donation will have a processing fee.

Be sure to check a list of BBB Accredited Charities currently raising funds for assistance efforts in Ukraine or preparing for needs that could arise if conflict results in population displacement, here.

If you spot a scam, report it to These reports can help others avoid falling victim to scams. Consumers can also visit the Scam Tracker website to view the latest reported scams in your area as well as across the country.