COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The aftermath of a national tragedy or natural disaster, like Hurricane Ian, pulls at the heart strings of many and inspires them to act and act quickly.

As Hurricane Ian and its 150-mph winds made landfall on the west coast of Florida Wednesday, people across the U.S. moved to donate money and supplies to those directly impacted by the Category 4 storm that’s poised to cause widespread damage.

“Give what you can,” Kevin Scally, chief relationship officer at Charity Navigator, said. “So, if that’s materials, if that’s using your voice and encouraging other people to support, if that’s volunteering, giving is giving, and certainly give until it feels good.”

Scally, whose organization vets and evaluates the legitimacy of more than 1 million U.S. charities and nonprofits, said it’s important to give with your heart and your head — by researching the charity before you donate to make sure your money goes straight to the source.

“Typically, it’s best to go directly to the non-profit,” he said. “You want to make sure that it’s going to an organization that’s valid, vetted and trusted.”

Oftentimes, when disaster like Hurricane Ian strikes, email inboxes are flooded with messages asking the recipient to donate to a cause. But Scally cautioned against clicking on every link or donating to a person or organization that reaches out first.

“There’s going to be a lot of different appeals going out. You’re going to get phone calls and text messages and emails,” Scally said. “You absolutely want to steer away from any sort of unsolicited communication that you’re getting.”

And, he said it’s important to consider how to donate.

“Typically, donating with credit card is much more safe than donating with bank information or using something like CashApp or Venmo,” Scally said. “You’re doing something that’s really good. You’re opening your heart, you’re opening your wallet, and you want to make sure that that money’s going to use where you want it to.”

If you make a donation and find out after the fact that it is fraudulent, report it to local law enforcement, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, and the Federal Trade Commission.

If you’re still looking for the right charity, Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau can direct you to vetted and verified organizations.