Heavy rain in Montana and North and South Dakota in May has strained river systems along the Missouri River, causing flooding in the upper Midwest, including Nebraska and the Dakotas. Meanwhile, rebuilding efforts continue in the wake of several tornadoes and storms, including the one in Joplin MO, that have ravaged cities and towns across several southern and midwestern states. Please consider making a donation to one of the organizations providing relief. Make sure to designate your gift to the appropriate fund specified for each organization below.
ALABAMA WILDLIFE CENTER; Providing rehabilitative care to the littlest tornado victims - wild birds. Donations are needed to provide care until they can be returned to the wild.
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AMERICAN RED CROSS; Opening emergency shelters for families affected by the severe storms. To designate your gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief, select ‘National Disaster Relief’ in the designation field.
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AMERICARES; AmeriCares is working with the National Conference of Community Health Centers to assess needs and mobilize a response for communities affected by the deadliest series of twisters in more than 40 years. To designate your gift to US Disaster Relief, write “US Disaster Relief Fund” in the designation field.
DIRECT RELIEF INTERNATIONAL; Assisting local clinics and healthcare providers whose facilities have been destroyed or evacuated. To designate your gift to Disaster Relief, write “Emergency Preparedness & Response” in the designation field.
‘I’M WITH PHIL’ & Y.E.S. EDUCATION FOUNDATION; The Phil Campbell Convention ('I’m With Phil' campaign), which honors people who share the name of the only incorporated town in Alabama with a first and last name, has banded with the Y.E.S. Education Foundation of Franklin County, Alabama, to provide relief to tornado victims and help rebuild Phil Campbell, AL and the surrounding county. Learn more about the campaign at www.imwithphil.com. To designate your gift to tornado relief, write “Tornado Disaster Relief Fund” in the designation field.
LESEA GLOBAL FEED THE HUNGRY; Delivering ready-to-eat foods, Gatorade, and bottled water to help thousands of affected and displaced residents of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. To designate your gift to Disaster Relief please write "US Tornado Relief" in the designation field.
KIDS IN DISTRESSED SITUATIONS (K.I.D.S.); Urgently needed items, such as blankets, undergarments, baby items and apparel are being collected and delivered to agency partners in the communities hardest hit in the South and Midwest.
MATTHEW 25: MINISTRIES; Matthew 25 will begin trucking supplies to tornado-ravaged Alabama on Sunday, May 1, including non-perishable food as well as water, diapers and personal care kits. To designate your gift to Disaster Relief, write “Southern US Tornado Children in Emergency Fund” in the designation field.
THE SALVATION ARMY; Responding to the deadly tornado activity throughout the South, mobilizing feeding units and providing support to the victims. To designate your gift to Disaster Relief, write “April 2011 Tornado Outbreak” in the designation field.
SAMARITAN’S PURSE; Sending Disaster Relief Units to help victims of the violent storms in Alabama and North Carolina. To designate your gift to Disaster Relief, write “US Disaster Relief” in the designation field.
SAVE THE CHILDREN; Save the Children stands ready to help children and families with emergency assistance during this difficult time. To designate your gift to Disaster Relief, write “Southern US Tornado Children in Emergency Fund” in the designation field.
WORLD VISION; World Vision’s domestic relief team is working with local partners to distribute first aid kits, hygiene supplies, and other essential. To designate your gift to disaster response, write “Disaster Response” in the designation field.
Don't let an unscrupulous charity take advantage of your goodwill. Find a charity with a proven track record of success with dealing with the type of disaster and in the region in which the disaster occurred. Avoid fly-by-night charities created specifically to deal with the new crisis. Even well-meaning new organizations will not have the infrastructure and knowledge of the region to efficiently maximize your gift. If you do feel compelled to give to a new charity, be sure to get proof that the group is in fact a registered public charity with 501 (c) (3) status.
Worried that your donation will go towards the charity's general operating fund or saved for a future crisis? This is a very understandable concern. Many charities do encourage donors not to designate their gifts so that the charity can decide how best to utilize the money, but depending on your confidence in the charity's ability to make that determination, you may want to tell the charity exactly how to use your gift. By designating your gift, you'll ensure that your donation will be used as you intended. Most charities with online giving portals offer a check box feature so that you can tell the organization how to spend your contribution. If you are mailing in a check, then write a note in the memo section of the check specifying that you want your gift spent entirely on the current crisis.
Be wary of fundraisers who pressure you to make a contribution over the phone. Never divulge your credit card information to someone soliciting you via the phone. Instead, ask the fundraiser to send you written information about the charity they represent and do some research on your own. Once you feel comfortable with the charity, send the organization a check directly in the mail, or give through their website, thus ensuring 100% of your gift goes to the charity and not the for-profit fundraiser.
Read Charity Navigator's Guide to Handling Telephone Appeals
As always, take the time to find a charity you can trust. Use our free financial evaluations to search for well-run charities worthy of your support. And be sure to follow up with the charity in a few months to find out (a) how your donation was put to use and (b) if the organization needs additional support to complete the recovery effort.
The inherent speed of online giving provides instant gratification to donors and offers charities immediate access to much needed funds. At Charity Navigator with the simple click of a mouse you can make a secure online gift to the charities we rate. Each transaction is processed by Network for Good, a trusted industry leader for online giving. Network for Good handled $24.5 million in contributions following the 2004 tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and the Pakistan Earthquakes.
Reprinted with the permission of Charity Navigator, www.charitynavigator.org, America's leading independent charity evaluator.
If you are a nonprofit planning an emergency response to this event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information: