First, for the sake of a few PICTURES in this wordy blog, check out the new Etsy shop HeartsForHaiti, where over 1500 items have already been sold and another 900 have been donated so far to raise money for relief efforts. Proceeds are going to Doctors Without Borders, whose facilities in Haiti were destroyed in the earthquake and therefore need your help more than ever. Our favorite items include
...and this beautiful tree print from TheHauntedHollowTree in Pennsylvania:
Work is coordinating an employee donation program with a corporate match (organized by a new employee-- ask at work if your company hasn't pledged to help and maybe they will do the same!). We will be donating the proceeds to Partners In Health, a "grass-roots" health organization that has already been working in Haiti for many years.
If you want to choose another organization, make sure you check it on a charity rating list such as Charity Navigator, so that you can be sure the largest percentage of your gift will reach the intended recipients. Contrary to popular belief, the American Red Cross is one of the lower-rated groups with only three stars (out of four).
Another terrific idea is to participate in a microloan program. You may have heard of Kiva, where you can pledge to donate or just lend $25 or more to help fund a specific entrepreneur and help to pull them out of poverty. With an incredible repayment rate (almost no defaults) and a "teach a man to fish rather than hand him a fish" mentality, it's one of the most exciting organizations around. While Kiva does not have any current loans in Haiti, check out a similar organization called FINCA, currently working in Haiti and rated four stars. One of the most fascinating features on the FINCA site is the "impact calculator" which allows you to estimate the prolonged benefits your donation may have.
Whether you save some of your shopping money or donate out of savings you already have, please make an effort to help-- Haiti is one of the most impoverished nations on Earth and will not be able to recover without massive relief efforts. If you've already donated please leave a comment sharing your favorite charity!