GREENSBORO, N.C. - You're sitting at home watching all the terrible things happen in Texas. And you want to help. But you don't know where to start. Who to give money to? Then this pops up on your Facebook feed: An option to donate right through your phone. And it says Facebook's matching the first $1 million in donations. But is that safe? And where does your donation even go?

Where Facebook asks you to donate, it says the money goes to the Center For Disaster Philanthropy. You've probably never heard of them before. 2 Wants To Know asked around. They have a great reputation because they are run by the man who used to be in charge of the charity watchdog website Guidestar. His new organization is a charity that gives money to other groups.

Center For Disaster Philanthropy doesn’t actually do the recovery work themselves. Instead they're forming a team of local experts in the Houston area who decide which other groups they should pass your money onto. The local experts decide who needs it most.

But know if you donate now, your money won't be used to help with recovery for at least three to six months. They are focusing on the long-term problems of rebuilding a city.

“In that time, we begin to see mental health issues pop up, housing issues, economic issues, housing issues. and we'll be better prepared to handle those,” said Bob Ottenhoff, President and CEO of the Center For Disaster Philanthropy.

Also you'll want to know that Facebook says it charges a five percent fee to donate through them to non-profits. Two percent of it covers vetting the non-profit, fraud protection, operational costs and payment support. The remaining 3% covers payment processing.
But how safe is it to give money through Facebook? The company says it encrypts your card number, you can set up a pin for your account then add in a two-factor authentication, which can include your fingerprint if you have a compatible phone.

Ben Briscoe WFMY News 2