Which charities are providing support in Japan?
March 11, 2011 9:25 PM   Subscribe

Where should I donate money to most effectively support people affected by the earthquake in Japan? And logistically, how can my organization collect money from its members that can be donated to this cause?

I am in charge of an organization for people living locally who have previously lived and worked in Japan. Many of our members are keen to donate money to help support Japanese relief efforts, but we don't know who we should be giving our money to.

Are there any NGOs that would be particularly worth donating to?

While I'd be happy emailing people a link to where they can donate, ideally we'd like to collect money (online) from members ourselves and donate the lump sum in order to track how much was donated overall. Logistically how could this be done, and given that we would be donating 100% of money received, what is the cheapest way to facilitate this?
posted by teem to Society & Culture (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I'm particularly biased about which organization to donate to, so I won't advise you on that front, but I will say that when you have decided which org - give them a call! Agencies that do disaster relief are used to companies and other groups of people fundraising on their behalf and they will likely have all sorts of ideas for how to do this, as well as potentially some resources in terms of posters, collection bins, volunteers, and 3rd Party Fundraising Agreements to keep everything clear and above-board.

If people want to donate online, on their own, they will. If you can say that you've been authorized by Group International to collect money on their behalf, and these volunteers what is happening on the ground and what the money goes towards, you might get a couple of dollars from people who wouldn't normally donate.
posted by arcticwoman at 9:47 PM on March 11, 2011

FWIW, here's Charity Navigator's take on it.
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:58 PM on March 11, 2011

I'm an atheist, but even so... I just gave a big contribution to the Salvation Army, tagged as being for Japanese Earthquake relief. They have a long record of using contributions well.

I think the important thing here is to get the money to the people who need it. That "tracking" business you're talking about, though; why does it matter? I don't think you should be collecting and aggregating the money yourself. Just send contribution information to your members about two or three charities you trust and let them each do what they think they should.

Instapundit just posted this link. That's where I found the link to the Salvation Army; it says their Japanese branch is going to be providing food and other things for Sendai, which is where the damage was worst.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:10 PM on March 11, 2011

Whatever you do, don't "To support the Red Cross in Japan, text $ xxxxx to yyyyy" That shit is a scam from front to back.
posted by Sphinx at 12:20 AM on March 12, 2011

you can help by supporting the japanese economy, by buying a japanese product like a playstation 3 or blu-ray dvd player, or panasonic microwave oven. yes I'm serious.
posted by thermonuclear.jive.turkey at 5:26 AM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

Brothers Brother puts over 99% of their received donations to work - 99-freaking-percent. This article just rounds it off to 100%, mentioning that they topped Forbes' list for most efficient charities.

Rather than donating one dime for every dollar to Red Cross' PR campaigns, CEO salary, paying fines for mismanagement, etc... I'd rather donate damn near every penny in that dollar to the victims I'm trying to help.
posted by IAmBroom at 6:46 AM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

Do we have a cite for the eloquent "That shit is a scam from front to back"?

redcross.org page with link to 'Text REDCROSS to 90999 Frequently Asked Questions'
posted by kmennie at 6:49 AM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

I've heard people call the Red Cross a scam because they raise money 'for' the latest disaster but in fact it goes to the next one, and the money for this one comes from the last one. I don't know how true that is, and to the extent it's true it's not great if they're misrepresenting themselves. On the other hand, it means they have money ready to go right away so it probably is a more functional model, even if it is somewhat of a compromise between pragmatism and how people's psyches and emotions work (more likely to give after than before).
posted by Salamandrous at 11:12 AM on March 12, 2011

There was a big scandal about the American Red Cross after 9/11. They had set up a special fund drive for the victims, but such a huge amount of money came flowing in that they began to talk about banking a lot of it, for the "next one".

The resulting outcry, including in Congress, apparently convinced them it would be a mistake, so they said that all the money they were collecting really would go to victims of the attack. But to this day I'm not sure I believe them; I still think they found a way to surreptitiously raid that fund and redirect the money elsewhere.

I don't give money to the American Red Cross any more, because of that. I don't trust them.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:26 AM on March 12, 2011

the national disaster search dog foundation www.ndsdf.org www.searchdog.org

sent some dogs over to look for survivors.
I know those folks personally, and they are honest and legit.
you can specify what you want your money to go towards.
they are small enough they can handle it.
posted by saragoodman3 at 8:32 PM on March 12, 2011

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