After disasters strike there is usually an outpouring of generosity and an inclination to send items like canned food, bottled water, and used clothing. However, it’s important to remember that every disaster is unique. So, too, are the response activities needed to help people affected by them.
According to a nationwide donations survey CIDI conducted in 2013, Americans give generously in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Learn more about active international disaster responses and how you could support specific efforts.
Why “Cash is Best”
The needs of survivors can change rapidly as they move to safety and begin receiving emergency assistance. The best way to meet changing needs is to directly support relief workers who care for survivors. Decades of experience with donors, donations, and disaster response have shown that monetary contributions to relief organizations are the best way to help people impacted by disasters.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1 in 4 Americans volunteered for an organization at least once during the course of a year. However, when it comes to volunteering overseas, simply showing up in a disaster-affected country is not the way to go. You need to think about a number of things before you hop on a plane.
Many people respond to disasters by collecting food, bottled water, used clothing, and household items to help affected communities. But unsolicited donations can have unintended consequences, negatively affecting survivors, relief workers, the local economy, and even your wallet.
Best Practices Toolkit
One way to help people affected by disasters is by sharing good giving guidance with your school, community, parish, sorority, fraternity, and people you know. We put together a toolkit of best practices, videos, PSAs, and more. It will give you and others the resources needed to be a practitioner and ambassador of effective giving.
Did you know that sending bottled water to a disaster site overseas can be 1,000 times more expensive than producing safe drinking water locally? How much do you think it costs to send canned food to Kinshasa? What can an aid group do with the same amount of money? Check out our Greatest Good Donations Calculator to find out!