Armenian charities in a time of conflict
November 13, 2020 8:43 AM   Subscribe

I've seen news articles about fake relief funds posted by bad actors, shady gofundmes, and dubious links on tumblr. I want to donate, and I want to be sure my donation goes to a real charity that will actually help people.

I've spent some time on Google and Charitynavigator, and I have kind of a nebulous idea of where I might donate. But MeFi folks are pretty well-informed, and I thought some of you might have additional information, either experiential or otherwise, that could be helpful. Please tell me anything you can.
posted by the liquid oxygen to Grab Bag (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My friend with family in Armenia asked me and others to donate to Armenia Fund,
posted by alligatorpear at 9:08 AM on November 13, 2020

Armenia Fund (Twitter) is getting a lot of support from celebrities. It's an established 501(c)3 sending humanitarian aid to Armenians in Artsakh. I think you can trust that Kim, Cher, Alexis, and SOAD's tax professionals and accountants have done their due diligence with it re: authenticity and use of funds. Thanks for donating regardless of which charity you use!
posted by pumpkinlatte at 9:09 AM on November 13, 2020

I'mma plug for the International Rescue Committee again. I worked for them 5 years ago, and they are doing amazing work both worldwide and here in the US. They took a MASSIVE hit during the Trump years, but kept going - and I am sure they are very much looking forward to working with Biden. They almost certainly have a department working on dealing with COVID in the various refugee camps around the world - they had one during the most recent ebola outbreaks, so almost certainly they do for COVID.

Also, they make it a goal to do BETTER than they need to when it comes to how much of their funding goes to actual support for the work. I think at the time I left (2017) it was about 93% of the funding going to support the work.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:17 AM on November 13, 2020

I'll make a pitch for Direct Relief - quoting myself from the past:
They are, so far as I can tell, the most cost-effective charity devoted to improving health and fighting poverty. They are non-religious and provide assistance to communities across the world. They do not have any significant history of fraud, nor do they receive any government funding. They are consistently one of the highest rated charities in the world for financial accountability and transparency. One of their stated principles is to build upon what exists and augment existing service providers, rather than trying to recreate existing infrastructure and sideline other providers. Their donation policies are clear, available, and unmatched by any other organization I've found. Notably, they allow donors to very specifically apply their funds towards donors' concerns (although I don't) rather than fundraising and advertising. Their data-driven approach to relief has lead to them being called one of the most innovative non-profits and the #1 charity changing the world.

It's quite likely you've never heard of Direct Relief. That's understandable because they have one, single, very targeted mission and do not deviate from it - even for public relations efforts.
If you'd like to donate specifically to Armenian efforts, you can. Here's a tracker indicating their work so far. As a general comment, the more narrowly focused a charity / organization is, in general the more inefficient they are. Organizational effort to target specific areas tends to increase costs compared to broader organizations that can use the same people/time for multiple ongoing projects. Although it "feels good" to support a specific effort, it's generally not philanthropically effective.
posted by saeculorum at 9:29 AM on November 13, 2020 [1 favorite]


Okay, initially I recommended the IRC because I didn't read clearly and missed the fact that you were specifically looking at charities that would help in Armenia. However, I am pleased to report that the IRC is in fact working with people displaced by the conflict in Armenia so it still counts.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:40 AM on November 13, 2020

Thank you so very much, everyone! I think rather than making a large donation to one charity, I will make smaller ones to each of these.

I actually have heard of Direct Relief before--probably from MeFi. :)
posted by the liquid oxygen at 3:21 PM on November 16, 2020

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