Making Donations to Disaster Areas

Money and Goods

Most often, the best way you can help others during a disaster is to donate money or goods. Here are some helpful tips to make sure your generosity helps the most.

Giving cash is always the best way to help disaster recovery because of its flexibility and ability to boost the local economy’s recovery.

If you’d rather donate goods, make sure you are only donating items that have been specifically requested by an organization directly involved in the recovery effort and that you have made contact with someone at that organization who will receive the items from you.

  • You can help disaster recovery by sharing proven guidance within your community, schools, parishes, sororities and fraternities about needs-based assistance and how smart compassion does more good for more people more quickly and with less hassle and expense for donors and relief workers.

  • Instead of donating your used items, hold a rummage sale, raffle, or silent auction and donate the proceeds.

  • Organize a fundraising walk or run and register participants who have received monetary pledges from donors.

  • Organize an event, such as a local concert, food fair, or art festival, and donate admission fees and other proceeds.

Charitable Organizations

Are you unsure about giving money to a charitable organization? Here are some websites that can help you determine how charitable organizations rank. Most reputable organizations will allow you to designate your donation for a specific disaster or program:

  • Charity Navigator rates charities based on their financial health, accountability and transparency, and results reporting. They also list some best practices for savvy donors.

  • The Better Business Bureau also rates charitable organizations and allows you to check out specific charities and donor reviews.

  • GuideStar is another place to find reliable information on trusted nonprofits, as well as tips on choosing the right charity to give to.

  • The Federal Trade Commission offers this advice for giving wisely after a disaster.

  • The Maine Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division also has excellent tips for donating to charities.