Making Sure Relief Contributions Don’t Do More Harm Than Good

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Making Sure Relief Contributions Don’t Do More Harm Than Good


In the wake of recent destruction in Oklahoma, the area of philanthropy is being challenged, as is the case after any disaster. While emotions run high, the constant news cycle shows us images that haunt us with that little voice that says, “this could happen to me” or maybe those images remind us of someone we lost. The reaction of individuals and companies alike is the desire to help, and in a way that is the most impactful – but sometimes our best intentions can do more harm than good.

Those working in the immediate response of disaster relief know that the best way to help is by giving unrestricted cash to those groups serving affected communities. It not only allows groups to provide immediate needs like water and shelter, it helps to stimulate the economy as they rebuild and it gives individuals and nonprofits the opportunity to choose what items they need, how much and when. For this reason, we at Good360 never thought of ourselves as a “disaster relief” organization.

What we found though, without even realizing it, is Good360 and our generous donors, have been responding during times of disaster in a huge way. Today, through our extensive nonprofit network on the ground, we continue to distribute household goods to those in New Orleans finally moving back into a newly built home. We are sending mattresses to Southern California, for those that lost everything in the wildfires of 2007 and as the children of New York and New Jersey return to school we can outfit them with new technology. After the images have been replaced in the media, there is still so much work being done in these weakened areas.

The best place for product donations is in the next wave of relief – when entire cities are stabilizing, rebuilding and reopening. It is after folks have permanent shelter, running water and basic infrastructure. It is important to have product donations available, but only when the area is ready for them, and that is what Good360 strives to do. Our mission is to connect those who have with those who need. Every day, including in times of disaster, through our technology, we enable groups to choose exactly what they need, in what quantity and when. We are also able to mobilize nonprofits in our network, during times of disaster that have warehousing, vehicles and community members available to distribute these items to smaller nonprofits without the same logistics capabilities as they need them.

New product donations are needed to supplement building supplies, apparel, linens, toys and technology in order to stretch a nonprofit’s budget to serve communities in the most efficient way possible. These items won’t help if there is no address to send them to though. For those wanting to make the biggest impact by sending truckloads of new and much needed goods, just know you will make the biggest difference with a pledge of product that will be shipped a few months from now – and the people of these affected areas sincerely appreciate it.

Emily Coccia is the director of corporate donation programs at Good360. For more information or to donate products for disaster recovery, contact

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