Iowans who want to help residents on the Gulf Coast recover from the destructive Hurricane Ida may need to do a little homework before making a donation, according to Susan Bach, at the Better Business Bureau.

“You want to make sure that you are researching those charities before giving,” Bach says. “We recommend that you use our Wise Giving Alliance to see if those charities meet our standards for charity accountability.” You can check out charities — good and not so good — at the Better Business Bureau’s “GIVE.ORG” website.

“When you are researching charities that you would like to donate to, if you’ve never heard of the charity, it really deserves a second or third look,” she says. If you’re going beyond the well-known large relief agencies like the Red Cross, United Way or Salvation Army, Bach says to be very careful where you send your donations.

“You want to make sure that it’s an experienced group, that they have the means and are already ready to provide quick and effective assistance to the affected area,” Bach says. “You want to make sure that you give money instead of goods.” Bach says donating money is the quickest way to help as it provides charities the flexibility to channel the most-needed resources to impacted areas.