Ebola Virus Epidemic: Best Way for Donors to Help
CharityWatch, a leading charity watchdog that issues letter grade (A+ to F) ratings of nonprofit groups, announces its list of highly efficient charities involved in efforts to provide emergency relief in the West African countries at the center of the current Ebola virus outbreak. Life-saving efforts include providing medical treatment, training of health care providers, and building stand-alone Ebola treatment centers so the disease does not infect hospitals.
As of mid-September 2014, more than 4,784 people have been sickened and at least 2,400 have died. Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have been hardest hit, with cases in Nigeria as well. The current epidemic is spreading more widely than previous Ebola outbreaks, with inadequate access to health care in the countries affected making it particularly difficult to bring the epidemic under control.
While the United States and other world governments have made large pledges for treatment and prevention of the virus, the groups that are working to contain the virus are urgently in need of critical monetary assistance.
SEND A CHECK, NOT GOODS
The 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, after the tsunami, boxes of donated winter coats, scarves and fuzzy hats, completely useless items in tsunami stricken nations with tropical climates, were sent to these nations.
As with any charitable contribution, Americans wanting to help with humanitarian relief efforts should send contributions to only those charities with an established track record of helping people in need. Disreputable, fly-by-night “charities” always exist to take advantage of the public’s generosity.
CharityWatch, a leading charity watchdog that issues letter grade (A+ to F) ratings of nonprofit groups, identifies the following charities, which are providing emergency medical relief and life-saving prevention education in the West African countries affected by the deadly Ebola virus, that receive an “A” or “B” grade based on the portion of their budget going to program services and their fundraising efficiency.
These charities perform favorably in relation to CharityWatch benchmarks:
1) A charity should spend at least 75% of its budget on program services.
2) A charity should spend no more than $25 to raise $100.
Contact your favorite charities 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, etc.