22 Dec Open Your Wallets and Not Your Closets: How Your Donations Could Create Additional Challenges in Kentucky
Disaster Sites Overrun with Piles of Unneeded Goods, Diverting Essential Resources from Tornado Recovery Efforts
Alexandria, VA, Dec. 22, 2021 — In the aftermath of the deadly tornadoes that ripped through multiple states on December 10-11, an unintended consequence of the outpouring of support is that unsolicited product donations are clogging up critically needed supply chains and resources. To help mitigate this “second disaster,” Good360, the global leader in product philanthropy and purposeful giving, has put together a list of recommendations based upon the organization’s experience in the field.
“Very often, well-intentioned people jump to action after a disaster and donate goods, but it is essential to know what goods are needed, as well as how and when to get them to impacted areas,” said Jim Alvey, Vice President of Disaster Recovery and Philanthropy for Good360. “In fact, as much as 60 percent of unsolicited goods given after a disaster end up in landfills or otherwise go to waste, and these goods actually divert precious resources from the recovery process.”
Good360 stresses the importance of getting the right goods to the right people at the right time during all phases of a disaster, including over the months and years of recovery after the news cameras have moved on, and encourages any individual, company, or organization to not send unsolicited goods to the areas impacted by the tornado outbreak. The organization also encourages those who want to help to consider cash donations to support responding nonprofits of their choice.
To address the current disaster in the Midwest, Good360 is working closely with the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management to get essential items to communities impacted by the tornado outbreak. There has been a tremendous outpouring of support from all over the country, and Good360 is engaged with on-the-ground partners to determine the shifting product needs of the impacted communities. However, financial donations for rebuilding efforts are in dire need.
“The best thing to give now are financial contributions to organizations that will help us rebuild and repair our homes,” said Jim Garrett, Volunteer and Donations Services Coordinator, Kentucky Division of Emergency Management.
To help clarify the best ways to give following a disaster, Good360 compiled a list of Disaster Do’s and Don’ts:
- Donate before disaster strikes
- Working with responsible disaster recovery organizations like Good360, your donations can be pre-positioned in areas likely to be impacted by a disaster, allowing for a near-immediate response when tragedy strikes. This shortens the amount of time it takes to get essential goods into the hands of people and agencies in need.
- Consider giving a monetary donation
- Cash donations allow responding organizations to purchase food, water, medicine, and equipment they know they need. It also allows flexibility to address urgently developing needs, as well as needs that arise over the coming months and years of long-term recovery.
- Buy local when purchasing
- When purchasing goods is necessary, it’s best to obtain needed materials locally, when possible, which can help local economies recover. It also helps ensure that the goods already in the area can be most efficiently distributed.
- Donate products only when confirmed as a need by people on the ground
- If you own or work for a manufacturer or retailer, Good360 can match donations from corporate donors with nonprofit partners on the ground that need those exact items and coordinate the right time to get them there to do the most good possible.
- Invest in long-term recovery
- After a significant weather event, recovery can be a years-long endeavor. Unfortunately, attention wanes after a few short days or weeks. In fact, only 12% of funding is allocated to long-term recovery. Consider giving to organizations committed to staying in the community for as long as it takes to provide true recovery.
- Send unsolicited product donations
- Even seemingly useful items like blankets, toys, and nonperishable foods can be harmful if not aligned with needs on the ground and without a means by which those donations can be properly received and distributed. These donations force agencies to redirect staff and volunteers away from providing direct services to survivors to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.
- Give without vetting the recipient
- Whether via crowdfunding, social media, or another platform, be mindful that some forms of giving don’t require accountability or transparency about how your funds are used. Consider using tools like Charity Navigator’s Hot Topics page to ensure that your donations are received by vetted organizations and used responsibly.
Learn more about how to improve your disaster-giving practices here.
Good360’s mission is to close the need gap by partnering with socially responsible companies to source highly needed donated goods and distribute them through its diverse network of more than 100,000 vetted nonprofits. In doing so, Good360 opens opportunity for those in need, for the nonprofits that support them, and for companies that donate the goods, all while keeping usable items out of landfills. Good360 has distributed more than $11 billion in donated goods thanks to corporate donors such as Advance Auto Parts, Amazon, American Eagle Outfitters, CVS Health, Gap, Inc., Levi Strauss & Company, Mattel, Tempur Sealy International, and UPS. Good360 is a registered 501(c)(3) organization. Learn more at https://www.good360.org.