The images from Haiti have been horrifying. Americans have an amazing tradition of helping others in need and coming to the rescue during tragic events. Since I don’t know much about Haiti, I’ve been confused about what organizations to trust. After 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, I just don’t trust the Red Cross. I’d much rather support a faith-based organization with an established network on the ground.
There are so many nonprofits out there, who is legit? The White House directed everyone to the Red Cross, but again, I don’t trust them. Nor do I trust the Clinton Foundation. The Smoking Gun also questions the Wyclef Jean Foundation and their partner, Yele Haiti Foundation (of Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie fame). If you want to help with a financial contribution, please check out GuideStar first. GuideStar tracks nonprofit financial data and has guidelines for giving to Haitian relief programs.
I’ve worked for a number of nonprofits, and volunteered for even more. The problem with large nonprofits is the administrative costs. Salaries and equipment are expensive. The rule of thumb for the nonprofit world is to keep admin costs to under 10% of the budget. Some foundations require 6% in order to win grants. Having worked in fundraising, it’s hard to keep admin costs that low.
The other option is to donate to smaller nonprofits that are typically staffed by missionaries. I was struck by a Fox News interview with the Joy of Hope orphanage. Tabitha Hale also did an interview with the director.
What about the UN? Remember that the World Food Programme, UNICEF and the UN Foundation are all part of the United Nations. The World Food Programme has a long track record of corruption. This past summer, Save the Children UK released a study on child abuse among aid workers, and one of the countries cited was Haiti. A majority of the abusers came from UN programs. Please do not give money to UN programs!
Before you click on the donate button, please do a little research. If something seems off, donate to someone else. Trust your instincts. You want your dollars to go directly to the people as much as possible. Please be responsible with your giving.
FYI: There’s also a Haiti e-mail forward going around that Snopes has already debunked.