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Advice

Feeling Generous? Here’s Some Tips for Giving

In times like these, it’s easy to want to help and not know how. The news is packed with stories of economic injustice, much of it urgent. A thousand children need legal representation today. Schools in Puerto Rico are closing down. Michigan’s donated water has run out. It’s something different every day, and for most of us, the only help we can offer is to open our wallets.

The urgency makes it difficult to gauge the effectiveness and trustworthiness of charity campaigns. GoFundMes and the like set up by private individuals feel good to support, as they represent the kind of grassroots activism we all admire. But even well-meaning organizers may fall short of their promised activities, and many don’t have good intentions.

That’s why it’s important to take the time to investigate a charitable campaign before giving. A quick search may turn its name up on a list of common scams.

For a more concrete review, check with Give.org and Charity Navigator, which hold charity organizations responsible for transparency and fiscal responsibility. New organizations that pop up immediately following a disaster are difficult to verify.

Crowdfunding campaigns, while often among the first to pop up in response to an emergency, are difficult or impossible to vet. If you do decide to donate to one of these, follow up by monitoring the campaign’s activity and discussions. If anything seems off-base, quick reports to the hosting site may keep the money from disappearing.

If you do support small grassroots campaigns, look for a few earmarks of good planning. Specific uses for donations and how they are intended to help is a good starting point. Avoid vague and broad promises. Organizers who set up transparency from the beginning, with real names and contact information available, are far more credible.

We all want to help, and monetary donations are desperately vital. Lawyers, marches, soup kitchens, and clean water all cost money. But take the time to ensure that your money will go where you intend it to.

Categories
Advice

Tips for Helping Those Affected by Hurricane Harvey

Every major crisis comes with a cacophony of calls for donations. And Hurricane Harvey is no exception. Tens of thousands of people are displaced, thousands of homes gone. The flooding is off the scale, even a week after it all began. For every person looking to help, it can feel like a thousand hands are outstretched in their direction.

Here are a few tips to narrow down your own charity options.

Look for organizations on the ground. People who are already there, who you can see helping on the news. A lot of the time, this means the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Both have had their problems, but both also have demonstrated expertise in disaster relief. Other good grounded organizations include the United Way of Greater Houston and the Greater Houston Community Foundation. They both have long histories in the area.

This is the other half the same coin but it bears emphasis: avoid new groups. They may seem tailor-made to match your sympathies, but they could easily vanish as quickly as they appeared. High flight risk, in other words. Privately-run donation drives fall under this same umbrella. These are especially common in online communities. So is the organizer disappearing with the proceeds, or showing a faked-up receipt of donation.

Donate money, not goods. There will be organizations offering to collect blankets and clothes and used toys and food. They come from a well-meaning place, but they aren’t helpful. A 100-pack of blankets can be bought on Amazon for less money and less time than it would cost to collect and ship hand-me-downs. Companies out for more than karma points will only be asking for money and maybe volunteers.

And last but not least, consider the long-term. Hurricane Katrina was 12 years ago and NOLA’s last refugees are only just now moving back. Houston and the other washed-out parts of Texas will need donations in six months and in six years as much as they do today.

Categories
News Organizations

Earthquake in Italy: How to Help

On August 24, 2016, Italy was hit with a devastating 6.2 magnitude earthquake that killed at least 250 people. In addition to the tragic fatalities, hundreds of civilians have lost their homes, leaving a huge demand for housing, food, water, and clothing. The following organizations are reputable charities that are dedicated to helping the victims of Italy’s recent earthquake.

All Hands Volunteers

Based in the U.S., All Hands Volunteers is one of the world’s largest disaster relief programs. Their vision is to “demonstrate the power and value of volunteer service through the tangible work done, the hope it brings to suffering communities and the transformative experiences it provides for volunteers.” With over 35,000 volunteers, the organization is estimated to have impacted at least 500,000 people from all over the world. NGO Advisor ranked All Hands Volunteers as one of the top NGOs of the year. Just this past May, the Traveler’s Institute awarded All Hands Volunteers with its 2016 Community Resilience Award. To make a donation to All Hands Volunteers, click here.

GlobalGiving

Established in 2002, Global Giving leaves its mark as the world’s first and largest crowd funding organization for nonprofits. Since its inception, GlobalGiving has raised an impressive $229,446,593 from over 500,000 donors. 85% of every donation goes directly towards supporting causes. The remaining 15% is reserved for servicing charges, including administrative costs and credit card transaction fees. To donate to GlobalGiving, click here.

The National Italian American Foundation

With a mission to “serve as a resource for the Italian American community,” the National Italian American Foundation funds scholarships, mentorship programs, and travel grants. Commenced in 1975, the organization is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit that seeks to improve relations between America and Italy. Due to Italy’s recent earthquake, the organization is currently accepting donations to help with disaster relief efforts. To donate to the National Italian American Foundation, click here.

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Resources

A Culture of Philanthropy, In Times of Tragedy and Always

Typhoon Haiyan
Typhoon Haiyan affected WAY too many people.
Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com

The Wall Street Journal recently reported about the newest corporate organization stepping up to support victims of Typhoon Haiyan. Moody’s Corporation has announced that it has made a $50,000 donation to the American Red Cross through The Moody’s Foundation, its philanthropic branch. According to The Wall Street Journal, the American Red Cross is part of the world’s largest humanitarian network, and the donation from Moody’s will go towards Red Cross operations providing food, shelter, and emotional support in the Philippines.

The company is known for its dedication to philanthropy, both through The Moody’s Foundation, and on an individual employee level. Moody’s CEO Raymond McDaniel explains, Moody’s commitment to our communities encompasses our businesses, philanthropy activities and employee engagement programs, touching on all three components of the triple bottom line. They enrich the lives of the people of Moody’s, the people of the communities where we live and work and the people of the world. Employees are encouraged and rewarded for their personal philanthropy and volunteerism,” of the culture of humanitarianism fostered by the company.

Moody’s Corporation has a global reach, so its “community” spans 29 different countries where the company maintains a presence. Frances Laserson, President of The Moody’s Foundation, says, “Our thoughts are with the people of the Philippines and their families around the world as they begin to recover from this tragic event. We encourage everyone who is able to contribute to the relief and rebuilding effort,” of the ways in which the company culture inspires philanthropy in employees. It’s really heartening to witness a major corporation encouraging its employees to support important causes in any way they can. Moody’s has a long history of philanthropy and supporting disaster relief efforts; it isn’t the kind of company that only supports those in need when it becomes relevant to do so.

For more information about The Moody’s Foundation, visit www.philanthropy.moodys.com.

 

Categories
Organizations Profiles

Hopelink Reaches Those in Need

Hopelink
IMG: via Twitter

It may be difficult to know where to turn when you are feeling down and out.  It may seem like nobody cares or that nobody is willing to help.  However, there is a nonprofit organization that is looking out for people in need.  Hopelink does, and it works with a diverse population from children to seniors.

Every day there are thousands who are looking for jobs, food, housing or training.  Last year about 1,500 people used the job training resources.  Students who dropped out of high school went there to earn their GED. Families in crisis went there to find safety.

Since 1971, Hopelink has been a resource connecting people with the services they need to survive and thrive.  It has put food on the table, assisted in finding a parent a job or helped to heat homes over the winter.  Whatever the emergency, Hopelink has stepped in to solve the problem.

From the shores of Lake Washington to the crest of the Cascades, they have helped many people find the hope they were searching for.

For the entire profile on Hopelink, click here.