What can be more important than making a gift to help relieve pain and suffering in Haiti? Where could your dollars make a more direct, immediate impact than giving to bring water, food, blankets, and medical supplies and services into Haiti.
We urge you to give. To give now. And to give a month from now and six months from now. The question is who should I give my money to?
There are many options ranging from the Red Cross to your local church or community based effort. Evaluating how to make your gift is important. Because your money is valuable.
- Does the organization have experience giving to international disaster relief? If no, ask why are they collecting money for Haiti. (see below)
- Does the organization have the expertise and relationships to ensure that aid actually gets into Haiti?
- Does the organization have people on the ground in Haiti who can help ensure that short-term and long-term relief and rebuilding efforts affect those in need?
- Is the organization large enough to handle a major influx of financial contributions?
While giving is of utmost importance you should also know that in-person and on-line fraud does occur in the wake of disasters and that people are taken advantage of. To help prevent being a victim of fraud do not give cash. Write a check or use your debit or credit card. Make sure the organization is a recognized charity. Make sure you know how the organization will use your money. Get a receipt that lists the organization’s tax identification number. Check out www.give.org a website of the Better Business Bureau if you have questions about how to make your gift.
Disasters are also a time when well meaning people and organizations appeal to others for disaster assistance when they really don’t have the ability to directly impact the lives of those who are suffering.
Yes, organizations without direct experience in Haiti or without experience in disaster relief may turn around and use your gift as part of a larger gift to an organization such as UNICEF or the Red Cross, but you don’t know that for sure. This is a good time for organizations to increase their revenue while “passing through” money to larger organizations. There is certainly no problem with giving a $100 check made out to the Red Cross to your church or a local community based effort. There may be a problem giving $100 to such an organization for Haitian relief. If you give this way, make sure that they are aligned with a larger organization that knows how to get needed people and resources into Haiti.
Your care and concern for others is so important. Together we are making a difference. As we write this column $16 million has been given to major charities by text messaging alone often in amounts of $5 and $10. American businesses have given over $43 million. The NFL gave $2 million. We as a country are giving $100 million via USAID. Your gift makes a difference.
That’s it for now. And as always, remember to have a FUNdraising Good Time! You can make a difference.