Donated items like food, clothing, and bottled water can be difficult to transport and challenging to store for distribution into impacted areas. Please check with any organization first to make sure the items are needed and that the logistics are in place to enable distribution within these communities.
Help disaster [survivors]: Donate Money
When the public supports voluntary organizations with financial contributions, it helps ensure a steady flow of important services to the people in need after a disaster.
A financial contribution to a recognized disaster relief organization is the most effective donation to make because:
- It is the most needed and the most efficient way of helping those impacted by disaster.
- It allows voluntary organizations to fund response and recovery efforts, obtain goods and services locally, and provide direct financial assistance to disaster survivors to meet their own needs.
- Make a financial contribution to the voluntary organization of your choice.
Help disaster [survivors]: Donate Goods
Confirm what is needed BEFORE taking action! The most effective way you can assist is to support experienced disaster relief organizations with either financial contributions or in-kind goods and services.
Used clothing is rarely a useful item to collect for disaster relief. Used clothing, miscellaneous household items, and mixed or perishable food requires helping agencies to redirect valuable resources away from providing direct assistance to disaster survivors to cleaning, sorting, packing, transporting, storing and distributing. Mounds of clothing often take up valuable warehouse space and are frequently discarded or donated to other nonprofits.
If you have a quantity of a given item or class of item to donate, and you need help in determining which organizations to give to, contact VAVOAD for guidance.
Tips for Donations
Cash is the fastest way to assist disaster survivors.
Cash offers voluntary agencies the most flexibility in obtaining the most-needed resources. Many charities specialize in providing relief in disaster areas, yet they face significant financial barriers to getting their staff, equipment, and supplies into impacted areas.
Your donation helps put experienced disaster responders on the ground, and gives them the tools they need to help survivors recover. Organizations typically prefer cash donations because they allow organizations to:
- Purchase food, water, medicine, and equipment from secure and familiar supply chains
- Buy materials locally – which can help rebuild the local economy
- Conserve resources – money is always necessary and cheap to send, but the cost to ship material supplies can be expensive.
Remember, material supplies such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, and mixed or perishable food require helping agencies to redirect volunteer labor away from providing direct one-on-one assistance to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.
Donate through a trusted organization.
At the national level, many voluntary, faith- and community-based organizations are active in disasters, and are trusted ways to donate to disaster survivors.