Immediate aid is essential, says Center for Global Development fellow Vijaya Ramachandran, who has drawn her conclusions from looking at the earthquake in Haiti and other disasters. Nongovernmental and nonprofit organizations can allocate their funds more flexibly, to react to immediate or unforeseen needs on the ground, says Julien Schopp, director of humanitarian practice at InterAction, a coalition of aid groups.
But the sheer number of organizations appealing for funds can be overwhelming. Here’s a guide for the bewildered do-gooder.
Check out the charity.
The Better Business Bureau has released a list of charities that are providing aid to Nepal and also meet the BBB’s accountability standards.
Look at the organization’s presence in Nepal.
“This isn’t rookie camp,” says Gary Shaye, senior director of humanitarian operations for Save the Children. “It’s not a place to break people in.” For an agency to set up shop in Nepal in the wake of the quake would almost certainly mean high overhead costs and a lack of familiarity with the country. So efforts by newbies, no matter how well-intentioned, could be less effective than promised in their pitch
Don’t pack up gently used clothes or other donations. “That’s the worst thing to do,” says Schoop. What you want to send may not be needed. Transportation to Nepal is iffy and cargo space limited. And if relief agencies buy local goods rather than relying on handouts, that will help the economy gain strength.