With thousands of worthwhile causes that need help, there's a good chance that the one that strikes a specific chord for you isn't mentioned here. That's OK. The important thing is to find the right match. That's not always easy, given that the existing causes are often as complex as the world we live in. For a road map to humanitarian aid, visit Relief Web. This Web-based resource, operated by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, tracks emergencies around the globe. Another solid clearinghouse is InterAction.
To make certain the organization you decide to work with has the same lofty goals, and to assure that your donations are doing the most good, use an evaluation organization such as Charity Navigator or GiveWell. As mentioned earlier, these agencies assess charities to determine how capably they distribute donor contributions. And while these organizations often recommend donating to established foundations, there are examples of long-time organizations that aren't operating efficiently. In short, it pays to do your homework. Especially if you're putting your money where your heart is.
For more about humanitarian efforts and related topics, turn your attention to the links below.
More Great Links
- Africa Files, "HIV/AIDS epidemic update, Sub Saharan Africa" Nov. 24, 2009. (Nov. 1, 2011) http://www.africafiles.org/article.asp?ID=22348
- Associated Press, "Evidence of oil tainting Gulf food web," Aug. 10, 2010. (Nov. 1, 2011) http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/08/blue_crabs_provide_evidence_oi.html
- Associated Press, "Six Americans on medical team killed in Afghanistan" Aug. 8, 2010. (Nov. 1, 2011) http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/afghanistan/2010-08-06-nato-bombings_N.htm
- Baddorf, Zack, Inter Press Service, "Children Too Hungry to Return to Civilian Life," Aug. 13, 2010. (Nov. 1, 2011) http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=52479
- Humanitarian Communication Group. "Haiti Earthquake Response (as of 8 Jan 2011)." United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Jan. 8, 2011. (Nov. 1, 2011) http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/missions/minustah/documents/ocha_haiti_one_year_factsheet.pdf
- Humanitarian Policy Group, "Providing aid in insecure environments," April 2009. (Nov. 1, 2011) http://www.odi.org.uk/resources/download/3250.pdf
- InterAction, "InterAction Members Respond to Floods in Pakistan" Aug. 23, 2010. (Nov. 1, 2011) http://www.interaction.org/article/interaction-members-respond-floods-pakistan
- InterAction. "InterAction Members Respond to the Earthquake in Chile." (Nov. 1, 2011) http://www.interaction.org/crisis-list/interaction-members-respond-earthquake-chile
- The New York Times. "2010 Pakistan Floods." Nov. 16, 2010. (Nov. 1, 2011) http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/f/floods/2010_pakistan_floods/index.html
- ReliefWeb, "Haiti - American Red Cross and IOM Support Communities Hosting Displaced Haitians" Sept. 14, 2010. (Nov. 1, 2011) http://reliefweb.int/node/367679
- Robertson, Campbell and Krauss, Clifford, "Gulf Spill is the Largest of its Kinds, Scientists Say," The New York Times, Aug. 2, 2010. (Nov. 1, 2011) http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/03/us/03spill.html
- Save the Children, "World Leaders Must Act to End Child Deaths" Sept. 20, 2010. (Nov. 1, 2011) http://reliefweb.int/node/368073
- Sontag, Deborah, "Haitians Cry in Letters, 'Please Do Something," The New York Times, Sept. 19, 2010. (Nov. 1, 2011) http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/20/world/americas/20haiti.html
- UNAIDS, AIDS epidemic update, 2009. (Nov. 1, 2011) http://data.unaids.org/pub/Report/2009/JC1700_Epi_Update_2009_en.pdf
- UNICEF, Millenium Development Goals, "Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger." (Nov. 1, 2011) http://www.unicef.org/mdg/poverty.html
- U.S. Agency for International Development. "Fact Sheet #1, Fiscal Year (FY) 2012." Oct. 3, 2011. (Nov. 1, 2011) http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/10.03.11%20-%20USAID-DCHA%20Pakistan%20Floods%20Fact%20Sheet%20%231%20-%20FY%202012.pdf
- U.S. Geological Survey. "Magnitude 8.8 - OFFSHORE BIO-BIO, CHILE." Dept. of the Interior, Magnitude, Chilean earthquake. Feb. 27, 2010. (Nov. 1, 2011) http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Quakes/us2010tfan.php
- Walt, Vivienne, "Report: Attacks on aid Workers on the Rise," Time magazine, April 9, 2009. (Nov. 1, 2011) http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1890311,00.html
- World Health Organization. "Public health risk assessment and interventions - Earthquake: Haiti" Jan. 21, 2010. (Nov. 1, 2011) http://reliefweb.int/node/340949
HowStuffWorks answers five often-asked questions about donating to a charity, such as: How can you tell if a charity is actually effective?