As a Jesuit, Catholic university, we are people of faith and believe that one way to offer support for our brothers and sisters in need is through prayer. Offering prayers for a community that is in distress alleviates the difficulties spiritually, but often times we want to do something more physically, such as providing monetary assistance. Here are tips from Charity Navigator, a website that helps donors make smart decisions in donating. Some organizations often end up being scams, so Charity Navigator provides a list of reputable organizations to give to. The site’s article, “Tips for Giving in Times of Crisis,” can assist and educate donors on what to do and not do when considering assisting a community that has been struck by disaster. We’ve included a few tips on our website, and encourage you to read the whole article before giving.
Give To An Established Charity
- Don’t let an unscrupulous charity take advantage of your goodwill. Find a charity with a proven track record of success with dealing with the type of disaster and in the region in which the disaster occurred. Avoid fly-by-night charities created specifically to deal with the new crisis. Even well-meaning new organizations will not have the infrastructure and knowledge of the region to efficiently maximize your gift. If you do feel compelled to give to a new charity, be sure to get proof that the group is in fact a registered public charity with 501 (c) (3) status.
Do Not Send Supplies
- Knowing that people are desperately in need of basic supplies like food, water and shelter, it is hard not to want to pack up and send a box of supplies. But this type of philanthropy is simply not practical or efficient. Even if mail could get to an impacted region, no one is set up to receive these goods, much less organize and distribute them to the victims. Furthermore, charities are often able to partner with companies to acquire large amounts of in-kind donations such as bottled water and new clothing. Instead of boxing up and sending your old clothing, have a garage sale and turn your used goods into cash and donate that to a worthy charity.
Seek Out the Charity’s Authorized Website
- Criminals are likely to set up bogus sites to steal the identity and money of generous and unsuspecting individuals. We saw this after Hurricane Katrina when the FBI reported that 4,000 sites were created to do just that. So, if you plan to give online, be sure to find the charity’s legitimate site. You can safely give on Charity Navigator’s site via our partnership with Network for Good.
- This resource from the Georgetown University’s School of Nursing and Health Studies promotes awareness of blood donation efforts and emphasizes the importance of maintaining the national supply even in times of crisis. Currently, the need for blood donations is high with blood donation drives across the country being canceled due to social distancing efforts. Learn more at the link above!