I've donated regularly for humanitarian relief efforts (via Direct Relief), including emergency response efforts and ongoing medical supply support during rebuilding, following the earthquakes in Haiti (2010) and Japan (2011). Direct Relief has also provided timely intervention, in terms of medical supplies, during the Ebola crisis.
Regarding the April 25 earthquake that devastated Nepal, the latest estimate is around 17,000 people injured, with thousands more homeless, ABC News is reporting today.
ABC News also reports:
The United Nations has revealed it has received only about 5 per cent of the $US415 million required for the relief effort... In Nepal's capital, streets are lined with mountains of rubble. Bricks, glass and messes of metal are piled high into the areas where buildings stood two weeks ago. Residents still wander through the streets, inspecting the destruction in silence.
This time, I'm opting to mail in a check marked "Use my donation where it is needed most" to Direct Relief's contact address:
27 S. La Patera Lane
Goleta, CA 93117 USA
(While it is more convenient to donate online, and certainly an online donation is always better than no donation, or few donations, it's also important to note that for-profit credit card companies and online payment systems such as Paypal take significant % cuts when donations are made through their systems. For tips on how to make sure 100 percent of your money is getting to your nonprofit, check out "Best Ways to Donate to Charity: Save Your Nonprofit 5% or More by Giving Smart" on nerdwallet.com).
Over the past several years, I've focused my giving on Direct Relief (based in California) for several key reasons:
- Direct Relief, as I've been able to track during the past several years I've been donating, has an ongoing four star rating on Charity Navigator (high marks for transparency, percentage of donations going to program expenses, etc.), and continues to maintain this highest rating.
- Similarly, Direct Relief meets the standards of several additional outside organizations, including Forbes, which rates Direct Relief as among the most efficient large charities based in the U.S. According to its website, Direct Relief "takes steps to leverage every dollar of assistance that it provides into $30 (wholesale) worth of medical supplies for healthcare professionals to use in caring for their patients."
- I've noticed Direct Relief takes quick action following natural disasters. Direct Relief, via its website, provides immediate and regular updates on specific actions taken via its blog, which include partnering with organizations in the countries affected and shipping medical supplies quickly. For example, with Nepal, Direct Relief has worked with FedEx which has donated airlifts of two planeloads of supplies.
- Direct Relief appears able to effectively work with other organizations, including those in-country, to quickly move supplies. I appreciate how Direct Relief keeps its donors and the public informed about specific actions and steps taken to provide relief.
- Direct Relief helps folks both in the U.S. and internationally, providing medical assistance to people and communities without regard to their political systems, religious beliefs, or ethnic identities.