Nepal has a special place in my heart for many, many reasons… It’s also where I learned that there is a right and wrong way to give. According to USAID’s Center for International Disaster Information, “Monetary contributions to established relief agencies are always the best way to help“.
Here are my suggestions for donating and supporting the relief efforts in Nepal.
1. Give a Little Now, Give a Lot Later
If we learned anything from the Haiti earthquake recovery efforts, it’s that the desire to help can hurt. Please donate a little now to support urgent needs, but then check back in the following weeks and months as we learn more about the organizations that have the greatest ability to support long-term rebuilding efforts.
PRI.org listed 7 international charities that already have people on the ground and are most capable of providing immediate support. Himanchal Foundation, led by Mahabir Pun, is a locally-led organization working on long-term rebuilding efforts.
Personally, my wife and I will be donating to multiple organizations on that list, and then we’ll be choosing a couple organizations to give to on a monthly basis moving forward. Organizations will need to know that they will have long-term cash flow to plan appropriately, so committed to long-term giving is very beneficial.
UPDATED on 4/28: Donations through GlobalGiving are being matched if you choose a monthly donor option, which we highly recommend:
2. Think Long Term
Charity is needed now to get healthcare to people, reunite families, and build shelters. However, charity is not the only solution for rebuilding efforts. There will be needs for advocacy, volunteers, supplies and more… but we need those efforts to be driven locally. The reality is that we need a little time to best answer the question “how can I [best] help Nepal?”.
3. Do Your Diligence
I have already seen some organizations with low ratings and no presence in Nepal advertising for donations. When this happened in Haiti, some were identified to be fraudulent. Before donating, please do your diligence. Please do donate, just make sure you’re giving to an organization that already has people and resources there.
4. Don’t Send In-kind Donations… Yet
In-kind donations require massive infrastructure and costs to get to the right person. Not only do they have to be collected, screened, packaged, and then shipped, but then they need to be distributed in Nepal, which now has many of its main infrastructure and distribution channels broken. There will be a time and place to donate more than money, but for now, please just donate cash.
Give now, give more later, and follow-along for ways to give more than money in the future. This list on PRI.org provides a great, unbiased summary of the best organizations that you can donate to right away.