The Maine Emergency Management Agency released the following statement to assist those who are interested in contributing to disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Harvey:
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.
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 non-profits, 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.
Check out our fact sheet on Volunteering in a Disaster for more information on helping out personally in disaster situations.