When disaster strikes, people across the globe look for ways to help. Above all, in every emergency, children need to know that the adults around them are working toward solutions and that their needs are important.
You can help! But do it carefully
The most effective way to help with the urgent work that needs to be done when disaster strikes is to make a financial donation. But it is important to give responsibly.
Where should you give? Even in a fast-moving emergency, it’s worth finding out whether your donation is going where it will do the most good.
In a disaster, choose the charity that will make the best use of your donation
Charity Navigator evaluates charities; it offers a list of organizations that respond to emergencies. The Federal Trade Commission provides advice on finding a charity and a checklist to help donors avoid fraud.
Before donating to an organization, ask these questions:
- Is the organization open about its finances and financial health, with easy access to annual reports, statements and forms?
- Does the charity spend money efficiently, mostly on programs that fulfill its stated mission — the work you care about?
- Are donations to the organization tax-deductible? You can check the Internal Revenue Service to find out.
For UNICEF USA, the answer to each of the questions above is: Yes.
UNICEF goes where help is needed most
In 2017, UNICEF responded to 337 emergencies in 102 countries, delivering supplies and assistance to those in need. The Rohingya refugees who have escaped persecution and are suffering in refugee camps in Bangladesh. The families of Yemen who, amid heartbreaking conflict, are fighting disease and malnutrition. The Syrian children in need of education, nutrition, counseling and healthcare as they experience their communities and families being torn apart by war. The families of the Caribbean after Hurricane Irma ripped through the islands, with Hurricane Jose and Hurricane Katia hard on its heels. Then there was the strongest earthquake to hit Mexico in a century.
After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, UNICEF USA staff was on the ground, delivering supplies to the most vulnerable regions of the island. When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, dumping over 50 inches of rain in some parts of the state and flooding an area larger than New Jersey, it left a trail of unprecedented destruction in its wake. UNICEF USA responded, providing learning materials and supplies to hundreds of teachers to ensure that children could continue to learn and play and recover from trauma. Something as basic as packets of art supplies and picture books helped children gain a sense of normalcy. And talking with someone trained in emergency counseling — even having a hand to hold — gave children hope.
Wherever you choose to donate, you will do your best for people in crisis by donating to a charity that provides aid efficiently and responsibly — and reflects your own values.
UNICEF USA helps children in emergencies while consistently receiving high ratings from Charity Navigator for transparency, accountability and administration. UNICEF USA also meets the Standards for Charity Accountability of the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance. UNICEF USA's financial documents are readily available. UNICEF is in the top tier of nonprofit organizations nationwide.
Photo at top: Children and women wade through a flooded street in Hinche, Haiti as Hurricane Irma approaches in 2017. ©UNICEF/UN0119375/Daniel