Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Transparency in Donating to Pakistan

I have been thinking a lot lately about how many charities there are out there vying for our money. I wonder how people most often determine which charity to contribute to. As I'm sure most people have heard, the response to the floods in Pakistan have generated a teensy-weensy amount of funding compared to the huge amounts of donations following the earthquake in Haiti. There are various explanations I've heard for this discrepancy, but it truly surprises me because of the fact that almost every-body has read Three Cups of Tea. And, I assume it must have had a similar effect on everyone as it had on me, (well, maybe not every-one cried during the last few pages of the book), but still.

This is an article that discusses the vast need in Pakistan and provides information on various charities that have been present in Pakistan for a long time. (This website, charitynavigator.org, is incredible. It attempts "to bring transparency to the charitable sector and to help educate donors.") Out of curiosity, I clicked on the Doctors Without Borders link. My husband has talked with a few physicians lately who were invited to join Doctors Without Borders in different countries. One was called immediately following the earthquake in Haiti and was part of one of the first teams to land and begin providing relief for the people in need of medical care there. The organization receives a four-star rating from Charity Navigator, and a relatively low amount is spent on administrative expenses, which is a good thing.

This article also presents a comprehensive list of things to think of when evaluating charities that you want to donate in Pakistan. This is extremely relevant information, particularly in a place where you know there is widespread corruption, like Pakistan. Here it is in a nutshell:

* Avoid newly-formed charities and give to an established charity that has worked in Pakistan
* Consider the nature of the charity's work
* Designate your investment
* Do not send supplies
* Be careful of e-mail solicitations
* Be inspired by social media, but still do your homework
* Seek out the charity's authorized website
* Carefully consider making a text donation
* Avoid telemarketers
* Do not expect immediate results, but do keep tabs on what your donation accomplishes

No comments: