I’m sure that, like me, your heart has been breaking for the people of Haiti, and you have been looking for ways to help. The motivation to give is powerful. I’m amazed at the new technologies for giving, such as these text message appeals â€” as of Friday, the American Red Cross reports that more than $8 million has been donated by people who text “HAITI” to #90999.
Photo of Haiti’s cathedral after the earthquake by Mr Stucke via Flickr
Unbelievable as it may seem, though, there are ways to “help” that really don’t help anyone. Before joining InterVarsity staff, I worked for a local affiliate of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, a nonprofit ethics and accountability watchdog. Disasters always bring out con artists hoping to use emotion for a quick buck (if you don’t believe that there are people out there as heartless as that, let me tell you some stories sometime), but there are also well-intentioned charity efforts that are simply ineffective, inefficient, or unaccountable. For example, no one doubts that respected Haitian-American musician Wyclef Jean cares about Haiti (one of his best friends was killed in the earthquake), but the Smoking Gun has raised important questions about whether donations to his foundation actually help anyone other than concert promoters (charges which Jean denies, by the way). The BBB offers several resources for donating wisely to Haiti relief. [Read more…] about What’s the Best Way to Help Haiti?