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How to Donate to Haiti Relief and Not to a Scammer.

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In case you haven’t heard, Haiti has been absolutely devastated by a 7.0 earthquake on Tuesday and continues to experiences aftershocks. Around 3,000,000 people have been affected by the quake and they are estimating over 100,000 deaths. It truly is one of the worst natural disasters in recent history. If you want to help those affected in Haiti, you can make a charitable donation today.

Don’t Send Care Packages.

After any natural disaster, people tend to put ship over care packages consisting of clothing, food, medicine, and toys. Don’t do this! While you may think you’re helping, the truth is, these packages just get in the way and hinder the real relief efforts. After the tsunami hit India, another tsunami consisting of care packages overwhelmed the area. Advanced medications that could have saved lives were buried amidst mountains of care packages.

And so in Aceh, Indonesia amid the trauma, hunger and devastation, care packages piled up containing everything from pajamas and teddy bears to birth control pills and Bibles — a hodgepodge impossible to sort through. There were boxes filled with half-used ointments and prescription drugs, as if do-gooders had cleaned out their medicine cabinets. And some unscrupulous corporations — exploiting tax write-offs for soon-to-be-expired pharmaceuticals — apparently shipped whatever had been lying around the warehouse for too long.

It all amounted to a mountain of materials that confounded the efforts of the pros, and made it more difficult to deliver essential supplies on the earthquake-ravaged roads.

Months after the aftershocks stopped, the French aid organization Pharmaciens Sans Frontieres (Pharmacists Without Borders) conducted a study of that second tsunami. In a world where most people lack adequate access to medicine, the results were a travesty.

Read more: Haiti: Help with money, not stuff

If you want to help, donate money.

Where to Donate

Ready for this? Some people are running scams in the wake of this horror to take money from those who are trying to donate for actual relief. Seriously. How disgustingly low can you get?

If you want to donate, stick with reputable, well-known charities. Here are a few to help you get started.

  • The American Red Cross – They’re one of the biggest organizations helping Haiti. Best of all, you can make your donation online right now by clicking here. You can even donate via your cellphone. Text HAITI to 90999 to donate $10. The charge will be added to your bill.
  • Two more groups that are already set up to help Haiti are UNICEF and Doctors Without Borders.
  • Head over to Charity Navigator to find a compiled list of relief help working in Haiti. You can pick from a number of trustworthy organizations that specialize in different areas of help.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Let me know of any other relief organizations you support in the comments below.

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8 Comments

  1. […] check out the article How to Donate to Haiti Relief and Not to a Scammer. This gives some good tips on what to donate, and how to avoid being scammed. Make sure you read […]

    Reply
    1. Brenda Foster says:

      What happened to the 6 Billion dollars the Red Cross received to help Hait after tge Earthquake? These charities are the viggest sxammers. You have been receiving donations for decades. Haiti is still poor.

  2. Hello, Lora. Like Charity Navigator, http://www.charitywatch.org/ also rates charities. Their A-B rated groups reserve 25% or less of donations received for their respective overheads. The ‘Talk of the Nation’ NPR clip I mention makes the argument for ensuring your chosen group gives out its money immediately/frequently and not quarterly; for instance. The Charity Watch represenative featured in NPR’s audio clip offered many such ‘insider’ tips and I highly recommend it for anyone who donates to any cause. Additonally, President Obama just announced the http://www.bushclintonhaitifund.org program which will assign; if memory serves, 100% of its donations to Haiti relief.

    Reply
  3. Lora, I looked for such a comparison but came up empty. However, check out this article by Charity Navigator, a site that rates charities based, among other things, on how much of their income goes to programs vs. administrative expenses.

    Sadly the American Red Cross only gets 3 stars, and a lower-than-I-expected efficiency rating. But the article lists other charities with 4 stars that have a long history in Haiti and/or with disaster response.

    Reply
  4. Does anyone have a comparison of what percentage of your donation actually makes it to the victims? Because, you know, I don’t want to help buy the director of the American Red Cross’ new Lexus. Call me cynical. I’d like to know which organization gets the HIGHEST percentage of donations to the relief effort!

    Reply
  5. http://www.charitywatch.org/

    The American Institute of Philanthropy oversees this website which was featured on NPR this week on Talk of the Nation by guest host Jessica Roberts.

    This interview’s most important concept (of many) was that helping Haiti should only involve money – for now. Haiti is both the poorest nation in the hemisphere and has the weakest government with regard to structure and/or supporting its people with security and disater relief. All out-sourced efforts must encompass the fewest ‘encumberances’ possible. The non-NGO, community or personal deployment of supplies or worse, attempting to go there to volunteer should be left to the most seasoned and experienced relief personnel.

    FROM THE AIP WEBSITE:
    The American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) is a nationally prominent charity watchdog service whose purpose is to help donors make informed giving decisions. This web site will provide you with information about our organization, the charities we rate, and our method of grading charities. Special features will focus on top salaries, top-rated groups, and hot topics in America’s most popular causes!

    I just gave $30….

    Reply
  6. ** CORRECTION**

    That foundation is called the Yele Haiti Foundation.

    Reply
  7. I’ve contributed to Wyclef Jean’s Charity, the Yeye Haiti Foundation. Like the American Red Cross, donors can contribute via cellphone by texting the word “Yele” to 501501. The charge that the donor will be billed is $5. This charge will show up on their phone bills. I figured that more of my donation would go toward helping the people of Haiti as opposed to overhead costs like many other charities out there.

    Thank you for raising awareness on this issue. Money is the BEST way to help in times like these.

    Reply

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