Sunday, March 13, 2011

Aid to Japan: Pretty Good Advice

"Japan earthquake: How you can help"
Jessica Dickler, (March 12, 2011)

"After the fifth largest earthquake in history struck Japan, many Americans have been eager to help -- but donations can be tricky, particularly in the earliest phase of the recovery effort.

"Despite the massive destruction seen in Tokyo and the surrounding area, 'at this stage it's very difficult to say the extent of the need,' said Andrea Koppel, a spokeswoman from the American Red Cross."

"Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy, advises those ready to make donations to 'wait and see how the situation develops and step forward when clear charitable needs arise.'

"An immediate response is not necessarily best, he says. 'It's ok to get assessments on the situation and then send contributions.'..."

There's more to the article than that 'wait and see' advice. Like "What to give:" "...'Give money, not food, water and clothes,'..." Why? It costs more to ship supplies, than to transfer funds. Also, what someone in New York City gives might not be what someone in Sendai needs. And supplies may already be nearby - like "...a Red Cross warehouse in Malaysia ... fully stocked with enough relief supplies to aid 5,000 families, according to Koppel...."

Sometimes its important to know "What to avoid." Like giving to a bogus 'charity.'

Here's how Jessica Dickler's article puts it:

"...The Federal Bureau of Investigation advises donors not to respond to any unsolicited incoming emails, but rather go directly to recognized charities and aid organization's websites, as opposed to following a link to another site.

"Before donating, also verify the legitimacy of the nonprofit organizations as well as its nonprofit status.

"And be leery of emails claiming to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files, because those files can contain viruses, the FBI cautioned.

"Charity solicitations that seem suspicious can be reported to the National Center for Disaster Fraud; complaints can also be filed with the Internet Crime Complaint Center."

'Beware Links' - Follow These Links?!

What is the Lemming thinking? After that pretty good, common-sense advice about following links, the Lemming wants you to - follow links?!

The 'related posts' list, just below the next paragraph, links to other posts in Apathetic Lemming of the North that are about vaguely similar topics. Whether or not you decide they're worth following is your decision. If you've been online for a while already, maybe you'd rather take a break and stretch your legs: which might be a good idea.

One of them, "Haiti: About the Earthquake, Relief, and Related Topics," (January 15, 2010) has a list of fairly high-profile charities - and one that was maybe just a tad iffy. It's marked as such. The post focused on Haiti, but quite a number of the major charities listed handle relief all over the world - so you could consider checking them out for aid to Japan. Or not. Your choice.

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