Post from Laurina, a former UniversalGiving member currently working in Japan.
Charity drive yesterday was very successful! People donated all sorts of stuff – non-perishable items, bottled drinks, feminine hygiene pads, baby formula, rags, and so much more. It was great. We also donated money to help with the cost of sending the items up to Sendai.
Even though it’s great that people are doing so much to help, I couldn’t help but wonder if it would be better to simply donate money and let the NGOs decide on the allocation. By donating items, we not only have to buy these items (and some of them are quite expensive!) but we also have to spend money to ship them off. We also run the risk of having an oversupply of a few particular items and very few on other supplies. Although, the good thing about donating directly is that we know 100% of our donations go directly to the people in need.
It’s easier for people to help by donating money. It saves donors a lot of trouble, allow NGOs to buy items that are most in need and to allocate help appropriately. Of course there’s always the risk of not having all your money going directly to the people in need. There have been news of scam organizations who take advantage of people’s good will. So unfortunate. It is important that an organization honors your donation and gives all of them to those in need.
Even though I’m living far from the United States and there are plenty of organizations to donate in Japan, I am still very inclined to donate my money to UniversalGiving and letting them do the work for me. At least with them, I know that 100% of my donations go directly to those in need.