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Helping with Disaster Recovery—and with Preparations for the Next Event

idf-mexico-city-flickr-250x350.jpgHarvey. Mexico. Irma. Mexico (again). Maria. Between hurricanes and earthquakes, it’s been a rough few weeks. As the communities affected by these events turn from disaster relief to disaster recovery, you can help.

Option 1: Give to an Expert-Sponsored Fund

The end of this post lists expert-sponsored funds that are responding to the recent disasters. Such funds offer several advantages:

  1. Peace of mind—the sponsors carefully vet their nonprofit partners.
  2. Comprehensiveness—the sponsors look at the total picture for an affected community, addressing needs that may not be readily apparent to outsiders.
  3. Long-term commitment—the sponsors are dedicated to long-term recovery.
  4. Accountability—the sponsors oversee how their partners use the money they receive.
  5. Tax deductibility—the sponsors are registered with the IRS as charitable organizations. This is especially helpful if you’re giving to recovery efforts in Mexico or the Caribbean. Your gift to a Mexican or Caribbean nonprofit probably wouldn’t be deductible, but donations to funds sponsored by U.S. nonprofits are.

Some, but not all, expert-sponsored funds retain a portion of the contributions they receive, which bothers many donors. I used to feel that way. I don’t now, because the fees support the funds’ vetting and oversight activities. They support a level of expertise I don’t have. My recent donation went to a fund that keeps a percentage of contributions.

Option 2: Give Through a Nonprofit You Already Support

If there’s a nonprofit that’s near and dear to your heart, check to see if it’s responding to the recent disasters. Even if it isn’t directly involved in recovery efforts, it may be collecting donations on behalf of an affiliate or partner organization on the scene. You’ll usually find the information on the home page of the nonprofit’s website.

Option 3: Give to a Nonprofit’s General Disaster Relief Fund

Even as nonprofits were responding to Hurricane Harvey, they were dispatching personnel and supplies to places in Irma’s path. Then the earthquakes hit, then Maria. The timing of these events has depleted many organizations’ general disaster relief funds. Think about helping a nonprofit replenish these resources, so it will be ready when the next tragedy occurs.

Expert-Sponsored Funds

If you’re interested in supporting recovery efforts in a location not listed below, try contacting your local community foundation or United Way for recommendations. Searching GuideStar for “[location] community foundation” or “[location] United Way” usually works for finding these organizations.

Helping with Disaster Recovery—and with Preparations for the Next EventSuzanne Coffman is GuideStar’s editorial director.

Topics: Disaster Relief Hurricane Harvey Hurricane Irma Mexico Earthquakes Hurricane Maria Disaster Recovery Disaster Preparedness