Help Disaster Survivors


Monetary donations allow voluntary organizations to respond quickly to the recovery efforts and provide direct financial assistance to disaster survivors.

The best way for individuals to assist people facing disaster is to make a financial donation to one of the voluntary organizations currently working in those areas. Researching the work of organizations will help you determine where to direct your donation. 

The United Way of Southeastern Michigan is raising funds to help the people of Flint, MI. The American Red Cross, located 1401 South Grand Traverse Street, Mi 48503 (phone number: 800-608-4272) is accepting donations as well.

Learn about the work being done

Interested donors can visit to obtain a list of credible responding agencies for international emergencies. InterAction is an alliance organization with over 180 non-governmental U.S.-based organizations that work around the world. These organizations are committed to working with the world's poor and vulnerable. also offers valuable, unbiased information on making informed decisions when supporting charities. In addition, donors can visit

The American Red Cross Online Disaster Newsroom is a good resource for current information on the organization's activities.

The United Way and its partners work to rebuild lives and communities struck by disasters. 

Charity Navigator, an independent organization that evaluates charitable efforts and works to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace by evaluating the financial health of over 5,500 of America's largest charities, offers advice on how your money will best be spent and evaluates emergency response efforts.

From FEMA - For those interested in learning more about how best to donate or provide assistance in response to national disasters, click here.

Verifying the credibility of an organization

To verify the legitimacy of any organization you can check Charitable Registration Section of the NJ Attorney General's website, or call 973-504-6215. Because the website is only updated monthly, any new charity set up for a unique emergency relief and recovery effort may not be posted yet. With this in mind, it is probably best to call for the most current listing.

The FBI released recommendations on how consumers can protect themselves against fraudulent relief appeals. Internet users who receive appeals to donate money are urged to apply a critical eye and do their due diligence before responding to those requests. Past tragedies and natural disasters have prompted individuals with criminal intent to solicit contributions purportedly for a charitable organization and/or a good cause. Read the most recent FBI recommended guidelines here.

When Disaster Strikes... How to Donate or Volunteer Successfully! (pdf) by DHS/FEMA

Page last modified/reviewed on January 22, 2016

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