Donating Money for Disaster Relief

Author National Philanthropic Trust

March 11, 2011

In the wake of the earthquakes that struck Japan, many donors will be seeking information on how best to support relief efforts in that part of the world.  Simply put, the most efficient and effective way to help is by donating money to a humanitarian organization operating relief programs in the affected region. Monetary donations are fast and organizations can use them to purchase the exact type and quantity of items they need. Furthermore, a gift of money helps ensure that relief efforts contribute to the long-term sustainability and self-reliance of the affected region.

Goods can be helpful, but only if a relief organization specifically requests them.  The donation of goods involves international transportation and handling, which can be very complex, time consuming and costly. Volunteering is also a good way to help, however the opportunities in disaster settings are extremely rare. They are usually limited to people with prior disaster experience and specific technical skills (such as health, engineering, etc). If you have these skills and would like to register them for a possible volunteer opportunity, you can contact the following organizations:

Center for International Disaster Information

Volunteers for Prosperity

InterAction