"The problem with a lot of these individual efforts is that it's basically the same problem of the Wild West," says Ken Berger, CEO of Charity Navigator, an organization that vets and ranks different charities. "The good, the bad, and the ugly are all out there. The opportunity for scamming is immense."
There's this notion, Berger says, that by going straight to the individual that you can "cut out the middleman, cut out the overhead" so that your dollar goes further. "But the fact is that you could end up wasting the entire donation if it's one of these scams." But he also points out that larger organizations, because of their ability to scale, may have more connections and creative programs that can help those in need in ways that individuals cannot.