Haiti. What's a donor to do?

Posted January 20, 2010 from Canada

I wrote this blog post for work, but figured it could still be relevant here. I work in Canada, so some of the references are specific to my country, but I still think it's important to share the information:

The images of destruction and human suffering coming right now from Haiti are nothing short of heartbreaking. The disaster is now 7 days old, and international, national, and local organizations, as well as individuals, are still working tirelessly to provide aid. The situation after such a disaster can be chaotic. And with a flurry of breaking news reports, appeals for money, eyewitness accounts and advice blogs all over the media, it is important to understand what is happening in order to make good donor decisions. Charity Central has compiled the following tips to help you decide how you can help Haiti:

  1. Donate money, not stuff. Donated goods can clog up ports delaying other items from clearing quickly. They may also not be appropriate for the climate, religion or culture. Further information from the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs can be found at: http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/humanitarian-humanitaire/canadians_help-aid...

  2. Scams are already circulating on the internet attempting to lure those touched by the Haitian earthquake tragedy to send money to cybercriminals instead of those who need it. Visit http://www.cra.gc.ca/donors for a list of registered Canadian charities and further tips to avoid these scams.

  3. Do your research. This is a massive relief effort. Those organizations that will do the most good are those with established capacity (people + stuff + the ability to distribute it), who coordinate well within the community, and who stay focused on the primary needs.

  4. Donte to organizations with an established presence in Haiti, and/or

  5. Donate to organizations that are well-experienced in disaster relief and response. They will have the knowledge, experienced staff, supplies, and procedures to be able to competently respond quickly.

    Some International relief orgs, with a Canadian chapter, that are mobilizing needed supplies and staff in and to Haiti are: * Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) Canada www.msf.ca * Oxfam Canada www.oxfam.ca * Canadian Red Cross www.redcross.ca * Unicef Canada www.unicef.ca

  6. If you are wanting a tax receipt for your donation, be sure to give to a Registered Canadian Charity. http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/whtsnw/tms/rthqk-haiti-eng.html

  7. Spread the word. Within a couple weeks the news crews will pack up their gear and go home, and we’ll have all moved on to the next thing, but Haitians are still going to need our help for many years to come.

Comments 2

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  • jodelight
    Jan 20, 2010
    Jan 20, 2010


    Thank you so much for sharing this with the PulseWire community. I know that everyone wants to help with aid in the aftermath of this horrible disaster. I know that your list is targeted to Canada, but the suggestions and organizations have global websites also. Here are some suggestions that World Pulse posted as well:

    1. Send urgent relief through your cell phone. Text “yele” to 501502 to automatically donate $5 to Wyclef Jean’s organization, Yéle Haiti or text “Haiti” to 90999 to send $10 to support relief efforts through the Red Cross. Donations will be processed automatically by a third party and will appear on your cell phone bill.

    2. Contribute to relief and recovery efforts by donating through GlobalGiving.org. Visit Global Giving to directly support on-the-ground efforts ranging from emergency medical response to communications projects.

    3. Mobilize your friends and family to contribute to earthquake relief by creating your own fundraising page with Mercy Corps. Use your page to give your loved ones an easy way to donate and to track your fundraising goals.

    4. Keep the conversation going. Too often, natural disasters are forgotten after the initial clean up. In Haiti, there will be a long road to restoring livelihoods and rebuilding communities affected by the earthquake. Hold your government accountable for keeping Haiti recovery a priority.

    There are so many incredible organizations aiding the relief work in Haiti.

    Kimmy, you made a very good point in saying that, in a few weeks, all the emergency relief is going to pack up their bags and leave. I agree, let's look for solutions of re-building the community after this disaster. Let's not forget.

    Thanks for helping with spreading the word in an informative and helpful way!

    Best, Jody

  • Nusrat Ara
    Jan 20, 2010
    Jan 20, 2010

    Great advice and guidance indeed.

    Thanks for the post.