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How to make sure your donations for Ukraine are getting to the people who need it most

By doing a little research, you can be reassured that your money is going to the right place.

PARMA, Ohio — We've seen a large groundswell of solidarity and support right here in Northeast Ohio for our Ukrainian neighbors. Now, people are looking for places to donate.

So how can you make sure the money you give gets to the people who need help most?

"Right now, things got worse to the point where people noticed, but it was happening, it just wasn't talked about," Cleveland Maidan Association member Nadiya Petriv said.

Many are learning about the Cleveland Maidan Association for the first time following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but the group has been around since 2014 and have sent hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of medical aid and other supplies.

"What we've done in the past and what we'll continue doing is giving financial aid to wounded soldiers and their families to help them pay for expenses, make life a little easier," Petriv said.

With local organizations, you have the chance to meet the people who run the charity you're donating to. 

It gets more complicated when looking online or at large non-profits. That's where watchdog groups and other websites can come in handy.

"We at Charity Navigator, we look at US-based 501 c3 non-profit organizations. This means they are registered as a charitable organization with the IRS, the only organizations where your gift is tax deductible," Kevin Scally with Charity Navigator said.

Their site currently has a page dedicated to organizations that are top-ranked for how much of the money you donate goes directly to the people in need.

The other thing to pay attention to is what link you're going to on large non-profit's websites. They could be fundraising for more than one cause at once.

"In many cases, the organizations will have dedicated funds that are set up, so this means that the donation you're giving can only be used for that one specific purpose," Scally said.

Other quick tips to make the most of your donations include: Finding an organization working on a cause that matters most to you and check and make sure they have a clear strategy for where that donated money goes.

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