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Haiti. What's a donor to do?

I wrote this blog post for work, but figured it could still be relevant here. I work in Canada, so some of the references are specific to my country, but I still think it's important to share the information:

The images of destruction and human suffering coming right now from Haiti are nothing short of heartbreaking. The disaster is now 7 days old, and international, national, and local organizations, as well as individuals, are still working tirelessly to provide aid. The situation after such a disaster can be chaotic. And with a flurry of breaking news reports, appeals for money, eyewitness accounts and advice blogs all over the media, it is important to understand what is happening in order to make good donor decisions. Charity Central has compiled the following tips to help you decide how you can help Haiti:

  1. Donate money, not stuff. Donated goods can clog up ports delaying other items from clearing quickly. They may also not be appropriate for the climate, religion or culture. Further information from the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs can be found at:

  2. Scams are already circulating on the internet attempting to lure those touched by the Haitian earthquake tragedy to send money to cybercriminals instead of those who need it. Visit for a list of registered Canadian charities and further tips to avoid these scams.

  3. Do your research. This is a massive relief effort. Those organizations that will do the most good are those with established capacity (people + stuff + the ability to distribute it), who coordinate well within the community, and who stay focused on the primary needs.

  4. Donte to organizations with an established presence in Haiti, and/or

  5. Donate to organizations that are well-experienced in disaster relief and response. They will have the knowledge, experienced staff, supplies, and procedures to be able to competently respond quickly.

    Some International relief orgs, with a Canadian chapter, that are mobilizing needed supplies and staff in and to Haiti are:
    * Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) Canada
    * Oxfam Canada
    * Canadian Red Cross
    * Unicef Canada

  6. If you are wanting a tax receipt for your donation, be sure to give to a Registered Canadian Charity.

  7. Spread the word. Within a couple weeks the news crews will pack up their gear and go home, and we’ll have all moved on to the next thing, but Haitians are still going to need our help for many years to come.

Northern America
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