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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Beware of fake charity organizations when looking to donate to Ukraine efforts

Refugees from the war in Ukraine seek shelter in a sports center in Warsaw, Poland, on Friday March 11, 2022. Warsaw has become overwhelmed by refugees, with more than a tenth of all those fleeing the war in Ukraine arriving in the Polish capital, and prompting Warsaw's mayor to appeal for international help.  (Czarek Sokolowski)

OLYMPIA – Thinking about donating to charities or nonprofit organizations to support relief efforts in Ukraine?

The Washington Secretary of State is encouraging everyone to research charities before donating.

“Malign actors and scam organizations” can take advantage of people’s generosity, Secretary of State Steve Hobbs said in a news release. Before donating, people should check a number of things, including the organization’s registration status and its experience.

“Americans are a generous people. Whenever a tragedy or crisis occurs around the world, we express our compassion by donating to any number of honest, legitimate charities,” Hobbs said.

The office’s charities division urged those wishing to donate to check the charity’s registration status. Charities operating in Washington may need to register and submit reports to the secretary of state’s office. They can be found at

Hobbs also encouraged people to check the charity’s experience. Charities that form or shift direction quickly to respond to a new crisis may lack the experience or contacts to address the issue, according to his office. Watchdog organizations, such as Charity Watch or Charity Navigator, can be good resources.

The office also urged people to be cautious of online fundraising.

“Avoid donating to any charities or individuals online unless you know them,” according to Hobbs’s guidance.

Lastly, people shouldn’t share personal financial information, including credit card, debit card or bank account information over the phone.

“A legitimate charity will not pressure you to make a decision immediately,” according to the Secretary of State office.

Valeriy V. Goloborodko, Honorary Consul of Ukraine in Seattle, expressed his gratitude to Washington residents and Hobbs in a news release Friday.

“On behalf of the government of Ukraine and its people, we are grateful for the compassion and generosity of Washingtonians and so many millions around the world,” Goloborodko said. “I am thankful for Secretary Hobbs’ commitment to helping people protect themselves against fake charities that are undermining genuine, legitimate efforts to support the people of Ukraine.”

Laurel Demkovich can be reached at (509) 416-6260 or at

Laurel Demkovich's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.