Since Sunday, wildfires have raged in California. At least 29 people have died, thousands have lost their homes, and entire communities have been devastated.
We have a few suggestions for how you can help rescue and recovery efforts. If you think these tips look familiar, you’re right—they echo the advice we gave in our October 3 post on disaster recovery and preparation. [The list was updated October 17, 2017.]
1. Give to a Community Foundation in One of the Affected Communities
The following community foundations have established or activated funds in response to the fires:
- Community Foundation of Napa Valley, Disaster Relief Fund
- Community Foundation Sonoma County, Sonoma County Resilience Fund
- Community Foundation of Mendocino County, Disaster Fund for Mendocino County
- Napa Valley Community Foundation, Disaster Relief Fund
If you’re interested in supporting recovery efforts in a different location, try contacting your local community foundation or United Way for recommendations. You can also search GuideStar for “[location] community foundation” or “[location] United Way” usually works for finding these organizations.
Not sure about giving through a community foundation? Read our October 3 post to learn about the advantages expert-sponsored funds offer donors.
2. Give Through an Organization You Already Support
Whatever your interest—animal welfare, emergency housing, feeding the hungry, providing school supplies, supporting first responders—that need has surely increased in California. Check with the organization(s) you currently support to see if they’re responding to the emergency, or can suggest another nonprofit that is.
3. Give to a Nonprofit’s General Disaster Relief Fund
The wildfires are just the most recent example of how quickly disaster can strike. Nonprofits can’t wait until the money rolls in to respond.
4. Give Money, Not Stuff
Unless a nonprofit asks for specific items, your monetary donation will accomplish more than an in-kind donation. GlobalGiving and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy both explain why this is true. If your heart is set on donating old clothes, hold a yard sale and donate the proceeds instead.
Suzanne Coffman is GuideStar’s editorial director.