Every day we read about some of the devastating things people are going through. From the tornado’s this past weekend in the south, South reels from deadly tornado outbreak as new storm takes aim in the West. Too many to comprehend School Shootings. To the impact of inflation on US families, Inflation is battering lower-income households. Certainly as humans, our first instinct is to help but we often get stuck with an influx of information and not enough guidance on action. Here is some guidance to take you from inaction to action when donating to help disasters.
From Inaction to Action
There are organizations that offer support on the ground, however, how do we know that our donations are actually going to what the impacted families actually need? In an effort to do good, we often jump to donate goods, money, or time. Oftentimes, the recipients get overwhelmed by donations. Albeit meaningful, it may be hard to use all of what was sent. In order to really respond in a way that the community needs, make sure to:
Understand What is Really Needed
Listen, learn, and seek out sites like wishes.inc to share updates on who needs what on the ground. Do your research. Are a number of children impacted? Do they need clothes or food or bedding or soap and other products? Are there animals that have lost their homes and need shelter? What do they really need? Food, water, blankets?
Engage the Community
Are there local members of the community who are a voice for those in need? Are there church groups or schools that are providing housing and other supplies? Find out who is stepping up and in to respond to the crisis and support them with what they need. What organizations are mobilized to take action. What do they need? How are they working together with the community?
After Hurricane Sandy in NY in 2012, a number of runner friends and I went to help a friend’s great uncle in Far Rockaway whose home was severely damaged. He was safe and we had so many volunteers, a few of us went door to door to check in on his neighbors. We found an elderly neighbor living in a water filled home. We were able to work with the local responders to get her out and to get her to a safe place. That took a community.
Mobilize Yourself to Support
When you hear about disasters near and far, you just want to help. If you are near, how are you going to mobilize yourself? Could you step in to help collect donations for water when the drinking water isn’t viable? Or to set up a fundraiser when your friend’s family is in urgent need of funding to cover medical expenses? You could be the today hero for your community.
Consider a Prayer or Message
Sometimes what is needed is just moral support. Research has shown that prayers are good for your health. Messages and prayers of encouragement could also be good for those who are in need. Oftentimes, that might be all we can give at that moment but to many that means the world prayers from community saved man.
Focus on your Impact
Often we lose focus on why we want to help our neighbors and communities in their time of need. It is always for the impact we can make in their lives. If we can, we should provide shelter, food, clothing, and transportation to help our neighbors and friends during their most challenging times. That impact gets measured in their hearts and then gets measured in our hearts and our life bank.
About the Author
Wishes Team Member
25 years in the social good + tech sector with a passion for transforming technology solutions to do good better guiding individuals and organizations towards improving efficiency, transparency and impact.