Trent Stamp, executive director of Charity Navigator, the nation's largest charity rating service, tells The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm that the best way to help the people in the most need is to donate money rather than goods.
"As much as we would like to donate diapers or clothes or rubber boots," he says, "they're not prepared to receive them right now. The best thing you can do is to write a check or give a gift via your credit card. Don't send cash. We just need to send money. I'm afraid that's all they can handle right now, and that's what they need to make a difference."
And don't wait, Stamp urges: "Donate now, while it's in your consciousness, while we see it on TV. They're going to need the money in the long run. So follow up on your gift. Keep informed. See what happens. In the long-run, they're gonna be rebuilding schools and roads and doing long-term work but, right now, we're talking about saving lives, and they need the money today."
Stamp says that Charity Navigator is a nonprofit organization that evaluates over 4,500 groups on its Web site, charitynavigator.org.
"We don't care what they do," Stamps says. "We only want to know if they're going to spend your money appropriately, in the way that you want. You can go to our site. You'll find a list of charities working for Hurricane Katrina.
"Right now, you can trust American Red Cross, AmeriCares, America's Second Harvest, MercyCorps, and Convoy of Hope. There's another 10 or 12 that are going to spend your money appropriately, who have done this kind of work before."