How Can We Help?

We, like many other nonprofit organizations, are getting questions about “How can we help the relief efforts in Haiti?” Many ideas have been talked about. Volunteering. Collection drives for items such as different types of supplies, blankets and food. Financial donations. What is truly needed the most at this time?

A financial donation is the answer.
Yes I know my main job duty is to raise money but there are reasons why a financial donation is best at this time. Some of the reasons are:
• Financial donations allow professional disaster relief organizations to buy exactly what is needed most urgently.
• A financial gift allows the responding organizations the ability to purchase goods locally, thereby, helping to kick start the economy following a disaster. Even following a disaster, organizations are able to purchase needed supplies locally or from surrounding countries much closer than the United States.
• Financial gifts do not have transportation costs to them. What does this mean? If you are collecting items to donate to the efforts, those items then must be shipped to the affected area. There is an additional cost related to this activity.
• Financial donations are also used by relief organizations to hire local people, directly impacted by the disaster, to use their individual skills and talents to help rebuild the area. This again helps spur the local economy and help local residents get back on their feet sooner.

For additional information on why financial donations work best, you can read this recent blog posting on the Mercy Corp web site. You can also check the Center for International Disaster Information for even more reasons why financial donations are best.

For those who want to volunteer.
Do not worry. There will be plenty of time to volunteer and help the long-term rebuilding efforts in Haiti. This disaster will not fix itself in the next month. You will have abundant opportunities to volunteer if you should so desire. Contact organizations who are working there now and let them know you want to come and help and what your skills are. Different skills will be needed at different points in time. Then wait for your call and be ready to respond.

Many of you may also be wondering what organizations are providing assistance with the relief efforts in Haiti. CNN has put together a list of organizations you can contact to find out how you can best help them fulfill their most urgent needs to be able to respond most effectively and efficient.

Also, just as we saw following Hurricane Katrina, you may be contacted by nonregistered organizations saying they are helping to provide relief efforts in Haiti. Always be careful who you donate money to for these types of projects. For tips on being a savvy donor, check out the “Giving Wisely – Helping Michigan Citizens Be Savvy Donors” guide. Also remember, the best donor is an educated donor.

Finally, Haiti’s troubles did not start on Tuesday night when the earthquake first struck. Many in Haiti have been suffering in a continual state of poverty for years. This is the same as in many other areas of the world as well. Let this serve as your call to action. Spread the word and help ensure that long-term development efforts in Haiti and other countries begin today.

Submitted by Marc Melton, Director of Development for Michigan Nonprofit Association.

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One Response

  1. Rotary Club of Grand Rapids collected $3,000 yesterday to cover the cost of packets that include: Tent, bedding and lots of other supplies for families. We are also working on a world service project focused on assisting Haiti through the Grand Rapids YMCA.

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