COLORADO SPRINGS — In the aftermath of the tragic shooting that claimed several lives in Colorado Springs people are asking how they can help the families of the victims and the children who witnessed the violence.
To this point a specific fundraising campaign has not been identified by officials. Meanwhile, there are crowdfunding efforts happening including a Facebook fundraising campaign that's raised more than $24,000 to help those impacted by the recent violence.
While donating to crowdfunding sites can be a nice gesture to help people in need, consumer advocates warn you are giving at your own risk because there isn't any oversight on who exactly gets the money and how it's spent.
News 5 spoke with CEO of the Pikes Peak Community Foundation Gary Butterworth who has led the collection and coordination of donations during the pandemic and massive wildfires like the Black Forest and Waldo Canyon incidents. He says it's important that people are patient as community organizations work to coordinate a response where donations can have the biggest impact.
"All of those organizations are reaching out and are having the conversations to understand how best to support the community at this time. As information is known and as we understand that the appropriate organizations will step forward and will provide the most secure way to provide that financial support," said Butterworth.
It's important to note, if you donate to a online fundraiser through one of the crowdfunding sites legal experts say it's nearly impossible to get your money back if you find out later on the money wasn't used is a way you were hoping.
News 5 was able to connect with Executive Director of Charity Watch Laurie Styron. Her organization works to watchdog and investigate non-profits helping donors identify places they can trust the most with their dollars.
"If you really, really want to help just take an extra 10 or 20 minutes and do a little bit of research to make sure whatever you want to give whether that's $10 or $2,000, if you just take a little extra time you can make sure the donation you give is going to have some kind of an impact. So, you can accomplish more with a $10 donation to a legitimate and efficient charity," said Styron.
Whether it's a donation in the wake of this recent violence, or for any cause you are passionate about, there are tools online that can help you become a more savvy donor to make sure your money is more targeted and goes where you want it to.
Resources for Donors & Journalists who would like guidance on investigating charities can visit this page: https://www.charitywatch.org/resources-for-donors
Tips for giving in the wake of a tragedy and tips for avoiding charity scams: