Here’s How to Plan Your Giving for the 2017 Hurricane Season

June 1 marks the start of Atlantic hurricane season – and as we know, it only takes one storm to significantly interrupt our summer or someone else’s.

Wreckage from Hurricane Sandy - Flickr - Wavlan

Wreckage from Hurricane Sandy. Photo by Wavlan/Flickr

If you know you’ll want to help people whose lives are upended by a hurricane, pre-planning your generosity can make a big difference for people trying to get back on their feet after disaster.

How can you make the greatest impact in the lives of others this hurricane season? The answer is surprisingly simple: give cash to relief organizations that work directly with disaster-affected people.

Disaster situations evolve quickly as people migrate to safety and start receiving emergency services. Cash donations allow relief organizations to respond to changing needs quickly, enabling them to deliver essential supplies that are fresh and familiar. Donating clothes and household items might seem like the right thing to do, but these donations rarely reach the people they’re intended to help. In fact, unsolicited items can hinder relief efforts by diverting relief workers’ attention, clogging up already-limited work space and requiring equipment and time to manage. In stark contrast, even small financial donations can make a huge difference in people’s lives because of charitable organizations’ bulk purchasing power.

Hurricane Sandy - Flickr - NCDOT comms

Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June 1 – Nov. 30. Photo by NCDOT/Flickr

Here are three ways to help people in need this hurricane season:

  1. Decide ahead of time where your money will go. Choose a charity doing work you feel strongly about in hurricane-affected areas. You can make sure your money is used how you want it to be used by consulting charity watchdogs such as Charity Navigator or Give Well.
  2. If you’ve already collected material goods, repurpose them! Your garage may be full, but fret not. Here are 55 ways to repurpose a material donation, or you can donate locally to people in need.
  3. Help spread the word about hurricane season, and cash donations. Many people aren’t aware of the positive impacts associated with giving cash to relief organizations after a disaster – or about the hazards of sending unsolicited material donations. Help us spread the word by directing people to, following us on – Twitter and liking us on Facebook.

If you’re still unsure about giving cash, visit our Greatest Good Donation Calculator to determine the cost of material donations like canned food, bottled water and clothes versus the good that the same amount of money could do in the hands of an experienced relief organization.

Save lives, save money – donate cash!