How Educated Giving Can Amplify Your Donation Post-Disaster
Immediately following a disaster, compassionate individuals ask “how can I help?” and they take up a collection and send goods without evaluating their potential impact or desired outcome.
While unsolicited donations meet the needs of that compassionate donor, they do not always meet the immediate need of the nonprofit and the individuals and families they serve. We’ve seen this in Good360’s engagement in Flint, MI during the water crisis. It was projected to the public that bottled water was needed, and the public responded. Individuals and small groups sent thousands of cases of bottled water to random organizations or companies in Flint. By not going through the coordinating officials; some organizations had stockpiles of water while others had none and there was no way of figuring out who had what. Additionally, many groups across the country sent faucet water filter systems that didn’t even filter out lead according to NSF standards. These uninvited donations require time by responding staff to sort and determine viability. It also costs the donors much more due to the high shipping and handling fees of relatively small donations.
Each of these aforementioned donors are instrumental to the relief and recovery efforts; however, by donating cash to the coordinating organizations the right product can get to the right people at the right time. Monetary donations enable relief organizations to provide exactly what the community needs and can provide material goods throughout the long-term recovery as well. The Center for International Disaster Information have put together a set of criteria for determining the efficacy of your product donation:
- Items are specifically requested by a charitable or local organization working on-site
- Items are available in sufficient quantity to serve affected populations
- Items are easily integrated into existing relief and development programs
- Items are monitored for effectiveness
- Transportation costs are paid for by the donor
- The recipient organization has a distribution plan
If your donation doesn’t fit those criteria, but you still want to help, there are alternative ways to have tangible impact on the affected community. One way is through working with Good360’s DisasterRecovery360 efforts. Good360 partners with nonprofits on the ground that report their product needs in real-time. Our team collects those needs and reaches out to our corporate partners to donate or deeply discount those products and then crowdfunds to help cover the shipping costs to deliver the right goods to the right people at the right time. As an individual donor supporting Good360, your gift will not only meet a specific need of the community, but it is also a leveraged gift because Good360, on average, moves $30 worth of product for every $1 donated. We will even share an impact story with you after the products from your cash donation have been distributed. To join our efforts and support Flint, MI visit www.good360.org/Flint.