While regular giving is the most effective way to help others, sometimes an event happens that needs an immediate response. Earthquakes, tsunamis and the like require a lot of help form charitable people. But giving in these situations is not the same as donating to a regularly operating charity. When you want to help out people affected by a natural disaster or some other crisis, keep the following tips in mind.
Work with reputable charities. It’s sad to say, but there are people out there who take advantage of others’ giving natures, and a crisis situation is a great opportunity for someone to make up a charity, solicit donations, and then pocket that money. Don’t donate to fly-by-night charities, seek out reputable organizations with a good history, and donate through them.
Don’t send supplies on a whim. You may want to help out by sending some of your old clothes, or donating canned goods and the like. This is not the most effective way to help people in need even at the best of times. In a crisis situation, packing up a bunch of stuff and sending it overseas or across the country isn’t going to help. Even if the package gets there, who is going to receive it, process it, and make sure it helps people out? Instead, look for established charities that are feeding or clothing people and donate to them. Chances are, they can do a lot more good with your money than your goods will do.
Do your homework. As with any kind of charitable donation, be sure to do some research. Read up on the situation and see what kind of help people need. Figure out how you want to help, and start looking for charities that have the same goals. If a crisis or a donation opportunity is brought to your attention via social media, don’t just click a link to donate, but instead read up to see what the charity in question does, and to make sure it’s not fraud. Don’t donate to telemarketers or other people who cold-call you looking for money.