Katrina, Tsunami Lessons Can Inform Haiti Fundraising
First, for relief organizations, don’t overlook corporate partners. Corporations donated $1.38 billion in 2005 for disaster relief efforts. While, as always, the bulk of donations came from individuals ($5.83 billion in 2005), companies can have a role to play in this most-recent crisis.
If past is, indeed, prologue, then the bulk of the donations will go to human service organizations providing for basic needs, such as the Red Cross. For smaller organizations that do not have the same high profile as the Red Cross, getting your message out to donors will be difficult, but not impossible.
With this crisis, electronic communications such as text messaging, Facebook, Twitter and e-mail seem to be driving the appeals process; use these tools to alert potential donors of the work you do, and provide back-up information on your Web site. Make it easy for potential donors to feel comfortable that their contribution is going to be used responsibly.
For individuals looking to do the most good with their dollars, the two groups provide the following advice:
- Check out the charity through groups such as Guidestar, www.guidestar.org, and the Better Business Bureau, www.bbb.org, to ensure they are legitimate.
- Donate to reputable organizations that are known for their expertise in times of disaster and making sure that money gets to the right places.
- Investigate how a charity intends to spend the dollars raised and who will cover the administrative costs. Don’t avoid giving to charities that will use some donations for administrative costs; it takes resources to manage and distribute contributions responsibly. But look for nonprofits that direct at least 75 percent of gifts to programs.
- Read the guidelines published by the White House to find out the best ways to help victims and groups that are helping those affected by the earthquake.
- Resist the urge to go to the damaged area to provide help; watch for news of requests for volunteers. At this time, volunteers are being actively discouraged from trying to travel to Haiti.
- Those looking to donate time, supplies or funds should contact the Center for International Disaster Information.