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Making Donations That Count
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02 September 2017  

Best Ways to Donate for Hurricane Harvey Recovery Efforts

Big idea:

When making a donation, make sure 100% of your money goes to a reputable organization. Money is usally the most helpful, be thoughtful before donating actual goods.

What you need to know:

1. Be wary of scammers taking advantage of the disaster. 

2. Some companies promise that 100% of the donations (all processing fees waived) go to the organizations. Find those companies.

3. Other companies are matching donations from employees and customers. That instantly doubles your donation value. 

4. Walmart is promising to match funds 2:1 from August 31-September 6. 

5. Other options besides cash that can be helpful include gift cards. 

6. Be prepared for longterm needs. If you can’t donate now, no worries, there will still be opportunities in the coming months. 

7. Think long and hard before donating actual goods, such as clothing, toys and such. Sometimes it creates more of a burden than help.


How to squeeze every penny out of your donation

Recently, we wrote about How to Help Victims of Hurricane Harvey. In that article, we provided links to several reputable, non-profit agencies already active in the flood zone. We’ll repeat that information again at the end of this article. 

We also warned you to be careful of people who might be scammers, trying to take advantage of the disaster: SCAM ALERT: Hurricane Harvey Charity Fraud. You may see people fundraising on Facebook or GoFundMe. Most of these are probably legitimate. But some could be scams. If you have any doubts, go directly to the website of the charity you want to support and donate there. People who are legitimately raising funds for Harvey recovery efforts won't care if you go through them or directly to the organization. They just want to help.  

You can check the charity you want to give to here: Charity Navigator. This site offers a ranking of charities, noting how your donations are spent and pointing out which non-profits spend more on fundraising than the actual cause. Additionally, Charity Navigator has a specific page for Hurricane Harvey charities. 

With a wise donation, you can make your money go even farther. 

First of all, when you make an online donation to your favorite organization, you’ll want to make sure that there aren’t processing fees associated that actually reduce the amount that organization receives. This can save the organization 2-3% in credit card processing fees.

For example, PayPal promises to cover all fees, and they give you a variety of organizations to choose from. 

If you donate through Apple’s iTunes, they pledge that 100% of the funds will go to the Red Cross.

Many companies are matching their employee donations, too. You might want to check with your employer to see if they have set up a program for matching dollars.

Walmart is pledging to match customer donations 2:1. You can make that donation at the checkstand, via text or online. You can read about all the details here:

Walmart to Match Customer Donations 2:1. 

All together, Walmart has pledged $20M in cash and product donations. 

Here’s a list of other companies donating moneyBusinesses donate over $141 million to Harvey relief efforts.

Is this a bad time for you to budget a gift, even though you’d like to contribute? Don’t stress over that. There will be many opportunities in the coming months and even years to help, as the Center for Disaster Recovery explains.

Finally, if you’re going to donate goods, such as clothing,toys, teddy bears, blankets, sheets, etc, make sure the agency you’re sending it to is able to manage it. Read this article for a greater perspective: When disaster relief brings anything but relief


Charity Organization Links

Red Cross: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Donate

Or, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Billy Graham Rapid Response Team Website | Facebook | Twitter | Donate

Samaritan’s Purse Website | Facebook | Twitter | Donate | Volunteer

Catholic Charities Website | Facebook | Twitter | Donate

Or, text CCUSADISASTER to 71777 to donate.

Salvation Army Website | Facebook | Twitter | Donate

United Way Website | Facebook | Twitter | Donate

Or text UWFLOOD to 41444.
Lynne LaMaster

Lynne LaMaster is the Founder and Editor of the eNewsAZ Network of websites. She asks a lot of questions! In her spare time, she loves photography, cooking and hanging out with her family.