Helping Others

The compassion and generosity of the American people is never more evident than after a disaster. To help match donated goods, funds, and skills to actual needs, FEMA has partnered with the Aidmatrix Foundation to launch a virtual portal that allows companies or individuals to offer their support online to leading organizations in humanitarian relief. This portal is designed to make it easy to offer financial support, product donations, or to donate your skills and time to nonprofit organizations active in disaster relief.

Here are some general guidelines on helping others after a disaster:

Financial contributions to a recognized disaster relief organization are the best kind of donation to make.

Providing a financial contribution to a voluntary organization involved in disaster activities is often the most needed and the most efficient way of helping those impacted by disaster.  Cash donations allow voluntary organizations to fund response and recovery efforts, obtain goods and services locally and provide direct financial assistance to disaster survivors to meet their own needs.  When the public supports these voluntary organizations with financial contributions, it helps ensure a steady flow of important services to the people in need after a disaster.

To make a financial contribution to the voluntary organization of your choice, click

Volunteer with a recognized voluntary organization involved in disaster response and recovery prior to the next disaster event.

If you want to do disaster work, volunteer with an organization and be trained before the next event.  This will put you in a much better position to find meaningful volunteer opportunities following a disaster.  There are many organizations and faith groups within your community that have active disaster programs and need volunteers.  These groups offer a wide range of services following a disaster, providing emergency food and shelter, clean-up assistance, emotional and spiritual care, casework, pet care, and home repair and rebuilding.  To find an opportunity in your community, go to:

Confirm what is needed before taking action!

The most effective way the public can assist disaster relief organizations is with cash donations or in-kind goods or services that are specifically requested or needed.  Unsolicited donated goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items and mixed or perishable foodstuffs require helping agencies to redirect valuable resources away from providing services to sort, package, transport, warehouse and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.

If you have a quantity of a given item or class of item to donate confirm the need by offering your bulk product via click here.  This online system will share offers with recognized nonprofits, ensuring the items are needed.  If your offer is accepted you will be contacted by the receiving agency to ensure that transportation and other arrangements are in place before shipping. (Please note that the donor is normally responsible for the transportation of the donated resource.) This ensures that your donation is used where it's most needed.

Last Modified: Tuesday, 05-Aug-2008 09:48:55 EDT