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Giving During Disasters

Ensure your donations have the greatest possible impact

Mar 17, 2014 | New and Noteworthy Archive

People around the world want to give to relief efforts in the wake of disasters such as the typhoon that ravaged the central Philippines. The question is: How can you help make sure your donations are used as you intend and have the greatest positive impact possible?
For example, food, water, medical supplies and shelter are among the items most desperately needed by survivors of disaster. While pledges of aid usually come pouring in, these do not always amount to the total expected need. 
Donating effectively can be challenging during crises, as information from the field can be inaccurate, and charities available to receive donations may suddenly seem to proliferate.
To assist you in your giving, The Philanthropy Centre at J.P. Morgan offers these guidelines for your consideration: 
Know the charity you are supporting
Ideally, your donation can be made through existing, registered charities. Look for charities that have proven track records of success in disaster management and/or familiarity with the target region. If you choose to work with a new charity created specifically to deal with the current crisis, assess the organization by considering factors such as:
  • Quality of leadership and governing board 
  • Relationships with local government and other nonprofits
  • Capacity to manage funds 
  • Ability to assess the needs on the ground 


Recognize that disaster-related needs evolve over time
Most disaster fundraising efforts decline dramatically within six months after the disaster. Donors often expect those resources to be deployed immediately, but that may not always be the case or what is needed. Keep in mind both the short- and long-term needs of affected areas.
Immediate assistance, such as emergency shelter and supplies, is critical right after the catastrophe. Long-term assistance, such as projects aimed at planning, reconstruction and mental health support, is vital for rebuilding and maintaining healthy communities over time.
Keep track of results
Set clear expectations for your gift so that your donation is used for the purposes you intend. In addition, expect charities to provide frequent reports, both on current needs and on their responses. If you contribute significant funds to an organization, consider conducting a site visit or requesting a meeting with leadership three to six months after the donation to learn how your donation was and is being used.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon often talks about how essential it is for the public and private sectors to work together to achieve major humanitarian goals. Helping to rebuild the Philippines will require not only aid from governments, international organizations and corporations, but also the efforts of private individuals around the world, now and in the years ahead.
Learn more
We invite you to contact us, and a J.P. Morgan representative will be in touch with you.


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