"When people aren't aware of the local customs and local risks they can make tremendous mistakes," she says.
One reason is to avoid swindlers and scam artists who may try to appear credible by giving themselves names that sound like established charities or are connected to the disaster. They eventually
were torn down " illustrating the need, Palusky says, for strict standards and the importance of coordinating with local governments.
His nonprofit's website, www.charitynavigator.org, evaluates nearly 7,000 charities with a zero-to-four star rating scale " only three-and-four star organizations are recommended " in a variety of
categories, including transparency, accountability and the amount of money spent on actual programs. The would-be benefactor thought it would be a good way for a farm family to start a new breed. The
instinct is that anything will help make their lives better. They're not going to be back on their feet in months. Do send a cash donation to a respected charity.
She recalls in the days after Hurricane Katrina when storm survivors were evacuated to the Houston Astrodome, someone sent thousands of pounds of cheese " a shipment far too big for any refrigerator
there to hold. We're talking about rebuilding livelihoods.
Natural Hazards Center: www.colorado.edu/hazards
In the Philippines, she says, "we're not just talking about rebuilding a home. This is going to take years."
Rebuilding, she says, is far more complicated than just collecting money to pour into a disaster zone. "Many of us see people who've lost everything. Schools have been destroyed. Sweeny explained the
many reasons she could not ship a live animal.
Red Cross: www.redcross.org
World Vision: www.worldvision.org
It all turned out well: The woman auctioned off the pig and gave the proceeds to the Red Cross.
Some of those very problems cropped up when smaller charities decided to build homes in Sri Lanka after the 2004 tsunami, says Chris Palusky, of World Vision, a Christian humanitarian
Sweeny says there's a natural tendency for people to want to help after headline-making catastrophes, but that altruism can sometimes be misguided.
"It absolutely should be money," says Kathleen Tierney, director of the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado-Boulder, a clearinghouse and research group on the social aspects and
impacts of disasters around the world. People made homeless by the Haiti earthquake and the Asian tsunami zone still are struggling years later, says Holly Solberg, director of emergency and
humanitarian assistance at CARE USA.
After Hurricane Mitch devastated parts of Central America in 1998, Sweeny was working for the Red Cross in Arizona when a woman came in one day with a live pig she wanted to donate. 13, 2013 file
photo, ..." title="">FILE - In this Wednesday, Nov. Another well-meaning donor dispatched a truckload filled with patent leather shoes.
When disaster aid isn't properly thought out, "you can end up undermining the local economy," Tierney adds. "Take your time and pick out a good one.". In large-scale disasters, Tierney says, "it
really doesn't make a whole lot of sense for people to be parachuting in for a couple of months."
Though the typhoon is dominating news coverage now, some charities emphasize that the need for donations will remain great even when the world's attention moves on to another catastrophe. Numerous
questions have to be considered: Will the aid contribute to the rehabilitation? Will it be used in a culturally sensitive way? Will it intensify social inequality?
Experts also say donating to these organizations makes sense because they know the terrain having worked on previous disasters in the countries, often have local partners and are going to be around
over the long haul. 12, 2013 file photo, Rudy Asercion, executive director of the West Bay ...
She says that's what happened after the 2010 Haiti earthquake when small groups traveled to the impoverished nation to construct new housing and sometimes made things worse by building in areas at
high risk for future flooding or other weather calamities. "Whether it's the U.S. and people receiving donations they could never conceivably use, like winter coats sent to people in the
Volunteering & PhilanthropySociety & CulturePhilippines
"I think one of the lessons from previous large-scale disasters," she adds, "is people are going to be feeling this and recovering for a long time. This creates enormous logistical problems ...
They're standing there with nothing. 13, 2013 file photo, a tourist donates money for the victims of Typho ...
Faced with heartbreaking images of the typhoon-ravaged Philippines " the sea of corpses, communities reduced to rubble, mothers clutching their hungry children " the world is watching an epic tragedy
unfold and looking for ways to help. Hospitals have been decimated."
Money preferred form of charity for typhoon relief - Yahoo News
These "mom and pop" charities, he says, "go into the field with the best intentions, but sometimes the best intentions are the road to hell."
In the aftermath of mega-disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan, experts say there are some basic rules for those eager to do good: Forget the rummage sale clothes, the old toys and the kind of supplies
that will only stack up undistributed or damage an already weakened economy. "It happens every time " people see the story on the news and look to help," says Matthew Viola, senior program analyst at
Charity Navigator. The big question is how.
One group put up tin shacks, while another constructed nice homes, creating a deep sense of inequality, says Palusky, director elephant tube
group's humanitarian and emergency affairs. In another instance, homes were built that were not up to code and were on a property line, creating disputes among families. "Once you ship building
materials halfway around the world, it turns out you've ruined the market" for those in the area. 12, 2013 file photo, Rudy ..." title="">FILE - In this Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2013 file photo, ..."
title="">FILE - In this Wednesday, Nov. or abroad, one thing that typically happens after a major disaster is people want to donate stuff. People have lost members of their families. It has a
special link for donating to typhoon relief with tips, including how to ensure a contribution is designated for this disaster.
The Red Cross, for instance, buys goods locally or domestically after disasters to help revive the economy, curb transportation costs and help guarantee culturally appropriate items are being used,
says Jana Sweeny, the organization's director of international communications.
Many experts say after massive disasters such as the one in the Philippines, it's best to contribute to humanitarian groups with a proven track record.