In times of crisis, how to give with an impact?

Typhoon Haiyan approaching the Philippines (13:00 UTC 11/7/2013). Copyright 2013 JMA/EUMETSAT
Typhoon Haiyan approaching the Philippines on Nov. 7, 2013. Copyright 2013 JMA/EUMETSAT

As the Philippines begins to respond to the destructive wake of Typhoon Haiyan, the world is watching and searching for ways to help.

On Nov. 7, Typhoon Haiyan tore across the Philippines’ central islands, with wind speeds close to 200 miles per hour and storm surges of more than 16 feet. According to UN officials, roughly 11 million people have been affected, with more than 10,000 estimated dead. Many others have been left without power, food, water or access to shelter.

At a moment like this — or in other times of crisis — the first question from many is “How can I help?” 

Penn’s Center for High Impact Philanthropy (CHIP) details what you need to know in order to provide donations that have the highest impact.

Give Money, Not Items: Many donors are moved to donate items such as food, clothes, or blankets, but those well-intentioned efforts may be unhelpful as they require recipient organizations to manage a secondary supply chain for donations. Instead of providing items, you can best help by providing financial donations to first-responder nonprofits.

Help Beyond the First Stages: Disaster relief involves four phases, starting with basic needs and moving towards rebuilding and long-term recovery. Media and donor attention is highest in the earliest stages, but the needs on the ground don’t go away when the media attention fades. In other words, the rebuilding effort must last longer than the headlines, and long-term support is necessary.

To read more about how to make a difference with your donations, and explore giving opportunities, visit CHIP’s blog.