How to make your giving really count for Typhoon Odette survivors

Aneth Ng-Lim

Posted at Dec 20 2021 03:03 PM

With our worst fears for last week’s predicted super typhoon coming true, it was heart-warming to see Filipinos stepping up as volunteers and donors to get help to the victims left in the wake of Typhoon Odette.

When sending cash, there are many options you can help but which one is the right one for you? Here are things you can consider so you can donate wisely and ensure timely help reaches the Typhoon Odette survivors.

#1 Choose to keep it local.

For urgent needs including food, water and clothing, one of the best ways to help is through community volunteers known to you or to people you trust. Because they are local, they can quickly mobilize help and they can also identify the ones who need help the most. Soup kitchens have been set up to offer hot meals to families in evacuation centers.

Water refilling stations were also organized and these are in the areas worst-hit. Check your social media network for options as many have already started sharing ways to help through everything from Twitter to Tiktok to raise funds.

#2 Stick to the ones you know.

If you have donated in the past and that non-profit is also involved in disaster relief, you may want to start with them. This is assuming that you were impressed with how they handled your past contribution. This is not the time to try out new organizations as some may not have the track record and will have difficulty in reaching the affected areas to render help.

Disaster relief is not as simple as sending money or for others, turning over food, water and clothing. Transportation is critical plus the manpower in ensuring the donations are organized and sent as soon as possible and that these are what the survivors need.

#3 Cash is king, even in disaster relief.

In the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda, some of the survivors sent messages that instant noodles were going to waste because they had no access to potable water, let alone the means to heat water.

For some organizers, cash is better because they already have disaster kits on the ready and your donations will “buy” these off their inventory so they can replenish for next time. Cash is also convenient because it can be used to buy what’s needed closer to the affected areas so less transportation costs.

#4 Watch out for the administration fees.

It’s impossible for your donation to be wholly spent on Typhoon Odette survivors. Because of the logistics involved in sending help, non-profits take on administration costs and that eats into your contribution. There is no standard rate here so you really have to do the checking and ask.

The range is quite wide – from as low as 10 percent to as high as 80 percent. My personal limit is 30 percent and any non-profit that charges higher is not for me. It’s possible that for some, they can limit it to 10 percent because they are closer to the area, or they can leverage on their network. Look for these reputable organizations so more of your money goes to those you intended to help in the first place.

#5 Follow your money, always.

This is true not just for donations, but even when you invest. It’s important for you to have a clear line of sight where your money goes. Extra points should be awarded for those that will report back to you, without being asked, on how your money was spent.

I’ve donated to big non-profits before and never heard back from them. Maybe my donation was a drop in their big bucket, so I decided I will not add to that big bucket again. Reporting back also means they accept accountability for your donation, and just makes it easier next time to open your wallet to them again.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.

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