Making Sure You're Really Helping the Philippines

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    A Filipino youth skateboards car hangs in a tree on a street demolished by Typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban, on the island Leyte, in the Philippines, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. (Photo by Kevin Frayer)

    Typhoon Haiyan, which struck six central Philippine islands on Friday was the strongest typhoon of the year and one of the strongest storms on record.

    The images and stories of aid being slow to trickle into the disaster zone have North Texans opening their hearts and their wallets post-disaster.

    The best way to help the recovery effort is to give money. Unfortunately, fake charities always pop up following a natural disaster. Here are some tips to help you decide where to give to make sure your donations get to typhoon victims.

    Experts say don't make donations over the phone. Paid telemarketers often take a large percentage of the money raised.

    Ask for the charity's 990 Form. It's a form the charity has to provide to the Internal Revenue Service and it can tell you how much of their budget is spent on services. A good charity spends 75 percent on services and programs.

    Beware of sound-alike charities. Poorly run charities often create names that sound like established ones.

    For Philippine relief, Texas A&M experts recommend the American Red Cross, or non-governmental organizations like, World Vision or Catholic Relief Services.

    You can also research a charity's record on websites like

    CLICK HERE for a list of organizations offering relief to the Philippines