BEST WAY TO ASSIST IN PROVIDING AID
TO THE EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI VICTIMS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
Updated August 27, 2007
American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) announces its top-rated
list of charities currently offering services to the victims of
the December 2004 earthquake and tsunami that devastated parts of
Southeast Asia. The death toll was estimated at nearly 200,000 and
over a million people throughout eight countries were displaced
due to the catastrophe. Two and a half years after the disaster,
a tremendous amount of assistance is still needed.
The American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) announces
its top-rated list of charities offering aid to the over one million
displaced people. AIP, a leading charity watchdog that issues letter
grade (A+ to F) ratings of nonprofit groups, identifies the following
relief charities, which are providing aid to the victims that receive
an A or B grade based on the portion of
their budget going to program services and their fundraising efficiency:
Note: Links will open in a new window
All of these charities perform favorably in relation
to AIPs benchmarks:
1) A charity should spend at least 75% of its budget on program
2) Charities should spend no more than $25 to raise $100.
Once you have selected a charity, make sure the charity
has not already received sufficient funds for tsunami disaster relief.
For example, the American Red Cross has announced that it has enough
money to fund a 10 year recovery plan. Doctors Without Borders has
also raised enough money for its tsunami response. Do keep in mind
that some charities have programs for longer-term aid such as rebuilding
basic infrastructures that may not be fully funded. Thus, you may
still donate to charities involved in long-term development efforts
(a list of other areas in crisis can be found on Hot
Topics!) or find another charity that needs emergency relief
You may also contact the charity to find out if they
provide the specific types of aid that you would like to fund, e.g.,
emergency relief, health care, infrastructure development, education,
The FBI has issued a special fraud
alert related to the tsunami disaster relief. There are reports
of fake websites pretending to be legitimate relief organizations
and unsolicited emails requesting deposits of money in overseas
banks to support relief efforts.
Additionally, donors should be wary of unsolicited
emails from individuals claiming to be victims of the disaster.
AIP advises against giving directly to such victims and urges donors
to contribute to charities involved in disaster relief efforts.
The charities are better equipped to identify individual victims
and direct assistance and aid appropriately.
As always, exercise precaution when donating online.
To ensure that the website is legitimate, verify that the organization's
website address is the exact same address that is displayed in your
browser's address bar. Even the slightest variation (such as the
use of underscores instead of dashes between words) may indicate
an imposter. If there is any doubt, call the charity to confirm
the correct website address. It is best to manually type in the
organization's website address in the address bar because simply
clicking a link in an email or on an unfamiliar website may take
you to a fraudulent website.
Look for a padlock icon (your browser may use another
symbol) on the bottom right hand corner of your screen to determine
whether a site is secure for credit card donations. If there is
any concern about the site's legitimacy or security, call the charity.
Some charities may use an outside Internet credit card vendor to
process credit card donations. Again, the donor should verify this
before contributing online. Of course, sending a check directly
to the charity greatly reduces the possibility of being scammed.
It is best to contribute to only those charities
with an established track record of helping people in this region.
Due to the magnitude of this disaster, it is important to be especially
aware that disreputable, fly-by-night charities are
set up to take advantage of the publics generosity.
SEND A CHECK, NOT GOODS
best way to help is by sending a check. Cash donations enable charities
to buy the most needed type of food, medicine, clothing, shelter
materials and other supplies. By buying relief products locally
or regionally, charities can reduce shipping costs and more rapidly
deliver assistance. Before sending any goods, first contact the
charity to find out if they are appropriate and if it will be cost
effective to distribute them. For example, during the Bosnian War
(19921996), 37.5 million pounds of inappropriate medicines