note from LK: Dr. John, being a compulsively helpful sort, found this on CNN.com and rightly insisted that it be posted front and center. If you’re going to spend time and money to help, you might as well do it in a way that, well, helps.
Japan earthquake: How you can help
Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy, advises those ready to make donations to “wait and see how the situation develops and step forward when clear charitable needs arise.”
An immediate response is not necessarily best, he says. “It’s ok to get assessments on the situation and then send contributions.”
For those who intend to help victims of Friday’s 8.9-magnitude quake, experts advise following these guidelines in the days ahead:
Who to give to
Patrick Rooney, executive director of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, recommends giving to reputable aid organizations, like the Red Cross and Save the Children, because those organizations already have a presence in the impacted area and their response will likely be faster and more efficient than other organizations that are not on the ground. “They have the experience and infrastructure necessary to provide help,” he said.
What to give
“Give money, not food, water and clothes,” Rooney advised. “There’s a much higher shipping cost for supplies and it’s easier for disaster organizations to get cash and use it as they need to.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation advises donors not to respond to any unsolicited incoming emails, but rather go directly to recognized charities and aid organization’s websites, as opposed to following a link to another site.
Before donating, also verify the legitimacy of the nonprofit organizations as well as its nonprofit status.
And be leery of emails claiming to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files, because those files can contain viruses, the FBI cautioned.
Thanks again to CNN, who will probably not take umbrage at having this info spread around. LK