Help 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. Monetary donations allow voluntary organizations to respond quickly to the recovery efforts and provide direct financial assistance to disaster survivors.
Government Officials and Voluntary Organizations Answer the Call
The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (NJOEM) takes the lead during any disaster in our state and works closely with county offices of emergency management. These government officials work together with NJVOAD (New Jersey Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters) to respond to emergencies and disasters of every kind. NJVOAD is comprised of non-profit and faith-based organizations and is the umbrella organization, under which fall all COADs (County Organizations Active in Disaster). This network, in which NJ 211 is an active participant, is finely tuned and familiar with emergency preparedness, response and recovery.
There are many worthwhile organizations doing good work locally and throughout the world. 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. HelpNJNow.org is a platform that was designed to connect resources with up-to-date community needs in order to best respond to disasters. The site was built and is maintained by a partnership between New Jersey Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NJVOAD), the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (NJOEM) and the Governor’s Office of Volunteerism. Visit HelpNJNow.org to learn about many of the organizations in our state whose members step forward to help whenever a disaster or emergency event occurs.
National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (NVOAD)
The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (NVOAD) continues to respond to disasters in the United States and around the world. Find out about the events they are currently responding to here.
Learn about the work being done
Interested donors can visit www.interaction.org 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. Give.org also offers valuable, unbiased information on making informed decisions when supporting charities. In addition, donors can visit www.globalgiving.org.
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.
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.
You can find more information on spotting and avoid common scams, fraud, and schemes here.