As CNN and other news outlets are reporting, monsoon rains have flooded large areas of Pakistan, forcing millions to flee their homes and seek humanitarian aid for such basic necessities as shelter, food, potable water, and medical care. And, as BusinessWeek pointed out, Americans are joining in force to provide assistance to the victims of this cruel tragedy.
I’m always so proud when Americans come together in the face of tragedy. All across the nation, communities are asking themselves how they can help, individuals are digging into their pockets to find something extra, and hundreds of nonprofits are getting calls from people wanting to know how they can help. And, luckily for those who need the help so desperately, people are acting quickly.
But, as you’ve heard me say it before (it bears repeating): Do a little research before you donate. Be sure that your money is being put to the best use possible. Click here for some quick and easy tips for doing your due diligence.
As I’ve also said before, unrestricted contributions are really the most effective gifts you can give to nonprofits that provide emergency assistance. There are already many organizations in Pakistan working diligently to help, and they’ve had to reach into their operating budgets or disaster-relief funds to provide this aid. They didn’t anticipate the flooding, and they probably didn’t have a fund already earmarked for Pakistan. And once their work in Pakistan is over, they’ll need resources to respond to the next unanticipated emergencies, particularly in the early hours, when quick action can literally mean the difference between life and death.
Over and over in the past we’ve seen disaster-relief organizations hampered because gifts have been restricted to a specific disaster or location. Although we encourage unrestricted giving to all charities, emergency-relief organizations particularly need donations that come without limitations for spending them, or that are made to the organizations’ general disaster-relief funds.
If it’s important to you that your gift be used in Pakistan, consider giving to nonprofits that have long-range programs there. Disaster recovery is a long-term process that has many facets. Your donation to an organization that will provide assistance after the flood waters have receded will have an impact.
Click here for list of nonprofits working in Pakistan. Other nonprofits assisting relief efforts in Pakistan can contact GuideStar to be added to the list. You can also find lists of nonprofits working in Haiti and Chile.
The preceding is a guest post by Bob Ottenhoff, Chief Executive of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. With an entrepreneurial spirit, strong technology focus, and a quest to make an impact in the world, Bob has the ability to take an organization and lead it into strong performance, sustainability, and industry leadership.