While the challenges of COVID-19 have dominated the headlines for much of the past couple of years, many people continue to face other major threats to their lives and livelihoods, both natural and man-made.
These humanitarian crises are moving many of us to want to help, with both seasoned and new philanthropists often keen to assist with immediate needs and longer-term recovery efforts.
Think before you act
When we’re faced with a humanitarian crisis, the urge to help, and quickly, can be overwhelming.
We may be bombarded with information and requests for support. “It is worth pausing, however, briefly, to think about how and where your assistance can be best directed,” says Prior, pointing to some key questions to consider that be useful in deciding your next steps.
- What are the immediate and pressing needs?
- Where are those needs located? Are they at the epicenter of the emergency situation, or are they further afield?
- Which organisations are providing help, and how are they getting that help there?
- Are those organisations experienced in providing this type of help and support and used to operating in this location?
- How effective will your donation be in funding immediate, frontline activities?
- What are the short-term, medium- and longer-term needs?
- Where will those needs arise?
- Which organisations can assist in meeting those needs?
- How effective will your donation be in funding these activities?
What to do and who to support
Each time a crisis occurs, a network of non-profit organisations gears up to assist with the needs on the ground. Every humanitarian crisis is unique, and each has its own complexities and challenges. The organisations that work in these situations reflect those complexities and fall into different groupings.
However you choose to support, it’s prudent to do so via registered charities, as not all websites and fundraising pages will be genuine.
Emergency response organisations:
- The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) brings together 15 leading UK aid charities to raise funds quickly and efficiently at times of crisis overseas
- The British Red Cross Society is the United Kingdom body of the worldwide neutral and impartial humanitarian network the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
Organisations focused on children:
- UNICEF raises funds for emergency and development work for children, providing vital humanitarian supplies, and reaching vulnerable children and families with essential services, including health, education, protection, water and sanitation
- The Save the Children movement operates in 117 countries, providing unique care to children based on their specific needs.
You may choose to support a broad range of organisations or target your support depending on your own preferences and the broader landscape of your philanthropic activities. “Whatever you decide, thinking about what you want to achieve through your philanthropy and the best way to make your support count, will be worthwhile,” says Prior.