Monday, January 18, 2010

Helping Haiti and navigating charitable organizations

I can't watch coverage of the efforts in Haiti. It is impossible to watch without seeing the death that literally surrounds the people there. There is little I can do except keep everyone in my thoughts and give some money. I wish we could do so much more. C has often talked about joining Doctors without Borders. Since he's still in residency, our hands are tied. However, we can give some money to that great organization.

Having worked in non profit for many years, I know first hand that choosing to give to an trusted organization is important. Unfortunately over the years, some people/organizations have taken advantage of people's generosity. A friend of mine who worked for Oxfam International told me about Charity Navigator, a website that evaluates the finances of over 5,400 of Americas largest charities. If you are searching for an organization, I urge you to start there to learn more.

So many people have immediately responded financially to Haiti. This is the first time that people have quickly used cell phone texting to give money. You can easily donate (the money is added and earmarked to your phone bill) to a charity of your choice (be sure to find your charity's key word). The great thing about this movement is the ease in which giving $5, $10 or more has become. Do be careful to text your donation wisely (scammers are quick to get in on this trend). Here is a post with a warning from the Better Business Bureau.

I know that many friends in the handmade community are also reaching out. You can find a variety of shops on Etsy who are giving proceeds to help various organisations. Handmade Helping Haiti (tag words Haiti or HHH) is one such group whose members have pledged to give from sales in their shops.

Craft Hope for Haiti Shop Spreading seeds of hope one stitch at a timeCraft Hope is a shop on Etsy where donations have been made and 100% of the sales will go to Doctors without Borders. So, if you are looking to make a purchase for yourself or a gift for someone else, please consider shops who are giving proceeds to various funds for Haiti.

Through February 14th, 50% off all my Etsy sales will be going to Doctors without Borders.


  1. Thanks for the info on how to make sure your gift is going where it's needed! And your hubby is awesome - it takes a special kind of person to think about doing DWB work (and a special kind of wife to not freak out at the idea)! (Which means that I would freak out at the idea of hubby travelling to a less safe part of the world...)

  2. Our plan is to do work in Vietnam as a family after residency. I think it isn't very realistic for us to actually do DWB considering our family now. However, we can go to Vietnam as a family on a yearly basis and each contribute in some way. I think it is important for our kids to also get involved.

    I agree with you about wishing we could get our act together (comment on your blog) as a country so that we can successfully help others.

  3. first hand that choosing to give to an trusted organization is important.

    This is really the most important point when donate. Nobody should not use the charity name to cheat.


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