Donating to Hurricane Relief Orgs: How You Can Help

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Photo courtesy of USA Today

It’s a time of unprecedented need. As Houston, southeast Texas and Louisiana continue to recover from #HurricaneHarvey, Florida is facing a direct hit from #HurricaneIrma. Our thoughts and prayers are with family, friends and everyone in Irma’s path this weekend. Also want to send out a big “THANK YOU!” to all of the first response teams, rescue workers, military, law enforcement and volunteers, who are at the ready to assist those in need. They’re all going to need our help, so as Florida prepares, you can, too.

While the urge to donate clothes and other supplies is natural, the best way to contribute during times of disaster, charities and philanthropy experts say, is to donate money. And donating directly through a website gets money to a charity faster than a text donation, even though the text might seem easier. As we saw in the aftermath of Harvey and other disasters, while appreciated, material donations can cause unintended logistical complications for assisting agencies. To make sure any donation you make gets to where and those who need it, check out Charity Navigator first. Charity Navigator is a nonprofit that evaluates charities using a numbers-based rating system to ensure that organizations distribute donations they receive as they have promised to.

“We send out a list to organizations that we know will be in the area and they fill out a disaster response survey,” Sara Nason, the company’s communications manager, told ABC News. Charity Navigator requires that organizations must publicly say they have a planned response, along with a specific designation for relief efforts and how they are going to use the money.

According to ABC News, as of Friday morning, 15 charities have been approved by Charity Navigator as highly-rated organizations that will allocate funds to Hurricane Irma relief and provide assistance to the communities affected:

Catholic Relief Services

American Red Cross

Direct Relief

Hope for Haiti

Heart to Heart International

Save the Children

DonorsChoose.org

Water Mission

Oxfam America

GlobalGiving

Americares

MedShare

UNICEF USA

International Relief Teams

Samaritan’s Purse

In addition to broader based relief organizations, think, too, about donating to those who need special assistance, including support for people with disabilities, the homeless, the elderly, displaced children, and animals. Local food banks can also use financial donations to ensure they can provide needed food and water in affected areas.

Another way to help is following your social media feeds to see where the greatest needs are in your area. We all heard and read about the amazing — and immediate — impact the posts of so many individuals made, and how those connections made such a huge difference in helping those in need following Harvey.

Donations and assistance are still needed, too, for those recovering from #HurricaneHarvey. The following are just a few of the many sites you can donate to (Charity Navigator approved):

Samaritans Purse: https://goo.gl/itXSTm

American Red Cross: https://goo.gl/sD6C6T

Save the Children: https://goo.gl/jRRKsU

Be safe, be smart, and thank you for anything you can do to help!

Be the change that the world needs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today