View from the Cave: Crisp and Clear

We love Twitter and we love clever handles so it naturally follows that we love Tom Murphy or @viewfromthecave.

How do we love thee? Let us count the ways in snippets from your latest piece for Humanosphere: “Want to help the Philippines? Give unrestricted cash”.

1. “Another major disaster strikes and do-gooders rush to help however they can. It is one of the most endearing qualities about humanity, but sometimes your instincts fail you. The compulsion to help can be good, but it is only effective if done right.” Straight out of the gate, Mr. Murphy highlights the importance of what we call “Smart Compassion”-giving effectively.

2. “With disasters, the best way to help people is to donate cash.” Yes and amen! Cash is Best!

3.  “Relief agencies need money to pay for the staff, services and provisions that will help people in need.” That’s the best part of monetary donations to a trusted relief organization: it keeps the life-saving running smoothly, quickly, and efficiently. Aid is not just food and shelter, it is also the infrastructure, supply-lines, and trained experts needed to deliver and give aid quickly.

4. “Aid workers compete by telling stories about their craziest experiences.” Uh, no comment(!)

5. “Airplanes filled with non-essential unwanted goods suck up fuel, money and space on the airstrip.” This was unfortunately the case in Haiti, Katrina, and every major disaster we have seen here at USAID CIDI since 1988. The costs are not just monetary but to lives saved, first aid given, and food aid dispensed.

6. “The thought is to jump on a plane and lend a hand. You will create more work for the relief agencies who need to manage you and the fact that you take up valuable plane space that could be filled with skilled aid workers or lifesaving supplies.” The reality of volunteering without being skilled or affiliated with a relief organization is that you not only waste your own money taking leave, paying for gear, and buying a ticket, you also take away food, shelter, money, and the attention of professionals from survivors.

7. “You can make a difference in the Philippines, but it is through your checkbook, not your closet. There are organizations that have a long history of working in post-disaster areas. They are your best bet to make sure that your money will reach Filipino people.” You as a donor have power and the ability to save people but it has to be done with Smart Compassion! We encourage you to check out our Smart Compassion Toolkit before scoping the reliable, time-tested organizations within the InterAction and GlobalGiving networks. Don’t see anything you like? It’s ok! Donate to an organization you are philosophically aligned with.