As many of you already know, it’s really looking bad in Aleppo right now. Here’s some recommendations for charities serving refugees or offering humanitarian aid for civilians caught in the Syrian Civil War.

  • *TULIP for Syria Relief* specializes in providing short-term life-saving emergency relief for Syrians in the country or on the Syrian-Turkish border
  • *Helping Hand for Relief and Development* specializes in providing global humanitarian relief in Syria, Burma, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Haiti, Mexico and many other countries
  • *International Rescue Committee* specializes in global humanitarian aid and development
  • *Islamic Relief* specializes in providing international humanitarian relief. They provided 40,000 gallons of clean water to Flint, Michigan recently
  • *Karam Foundation* specializes in education services for Syrian children resettled in Turkey & currently raising funds to rebuild schools in Syria
  • *Mercy Corps* specializes in global humanitarian aid. Currently serving displaced Syrian families with immediate needs for food, water and shelter
  • *Sunrise USA* specializes in providing emergency relief, trauma-care and orphan sponsorships
  • *Limbs for Life Foundation* specializes in providing prosthetic limbs to amputees in Syria and other countries like Nigeria and Mongolia
  • *NuDay Syria* my friend’s mother created this org. Provides humanitarian, education and financial services to Syrian women and children
  • *Hand in Hand for Syria* - works inside Syria, taking emergency humanitarian aid to the people in most desperate need. 

— Sarah Harvard, Identities Mic writer

I’m not going to dispute that a lot of charities are total scams, but some of the charity callout posts I’ve seen circulating on Tumblr lately have revealed some pretty bizarre expectations about how charities operate.

Like, I just ran across one banging on about how a particular cancer research charity was obviously a scam because its public filings revealed that only 65% of the money it took in was ultimately spent on cancer research. I mean, that’s not great, and certainly, some charitable foundations manage to break 90% some years, but research-oriented charities always have higher administrative overhead than those that focus on providing services or performing community outreach - 65% is actually fairly reasonable for a research foundation.

In particular, folks seem to routinely get up in arms about the fact that this or that charity is paying its officers a salary - like, not the amount of the salary, but the fact that there’s a salary at all. I mean, what did you expect? Only the smallest charities can rely entirely on volunteer administrators; any foundation of any significant size has gotta have at least a few full-time organisers onboard, and, well, they’ve gotta eat. If you see a charity whose full-time organisers aren’t drawing salaries, I guarantee you you’re looking at a bunch of trust fund kids - which is not necessarily who you want in charge for some causes, y’know?

I mean, I totally get wanting to make sure your donations are well-spent, but a lot of folks simply don’t have a realistic picture of what’s involved.

5 charities and organizations you can support to help Syrian refugees

1. Palestine Children’s Relief Fund

  • Charity Navigator: 4 stars
  • Charity Watch: n/a

PCRF describes itself on its website as “a non-political, non-profit organization dedicated to healing the wounds of war and occupation in the Middle East.”

Charity Watch gives it the highest possible rating in its overall score, as well as in the subcategories of “financial” and “accountability and transparency.”

PCRF spends nearly 90% of its funds on the programs it runs. Donors can give directly to its #promise4syria campaign, which provides humanitarian assistance and medical care to Syrian children.

2. International Rescue Committee

IRC is renowned for its work with refugee, displaced and vulnerable populations around the world.

The organization is working with more than 1.4 million Syrians, half of whom are children, providing medical care, emergency provisions and counseling for those who’ve been traumatized by the civil war, according to its website.

3. Islamic Relief USA

  • Charity Navigator: 4 stars
  • Charity Watch: n/a

IRUSA has initiatives like winterization, which provides Syrian refugees living in Lebanon with food, heaters, plastic sheeting and other supplies needed in order to survive harsh winter weather conditions.

Beyond this initiative, it also provides assistance through items and services like diapers, bathroom and shower units, cooking sets and education, to name a few.

IRUSA has been operating in areas cities like Aleppo — where an estimated quarter-million Syrians are trapped as the eastern part of the city is besieged and barraged by Syrian- and Russian-backed missile strikes.

4. American Refugee Committee

ARC is committed to helping the roughly 12 million Syrians who have been displaced by the war. It achieves this by providing “water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure in collective shelters, protection support for women and girls facing violence and distribution of much-needed emergency items for people who have fled their homes but are still inside Syria,” its site explains.

ARC also works with “citizen humanitarians,” like former lawyers and doctors, who provide critical assistance to those in need.

It received a top score from both Charity Navigator and Charity Watch, meaning it uses its funds extremely effectively and practices transparency as an organization.

5. Doctors Without Borders USA/ Medecins Sans Frontieres USA

  • Charity Navigator: 4 stars
  • Charity Watch: A

MSF is providing medical and humanitarian assistance throughout Syria, including the besieged East Aleppo.

It backs and supports around 70 hospitals and clinics throughout the country. More than 7,000 people died from war-related injuries in their affiliated facilities in 2015 alone, but in the same year, these hospitals also treated more than 150,000 wounded, about a third of whom were women and children.

Their hospitals are frequently subject to airstrikes and bombings, but the organization remains undeterred in its efforts to assist vulnerable Syrian citizens.

How to pick the right charity to donate to

it can be overwhelming figuring out where to start and what charities are worth your time and money. Even worse, some “charities” are downright fraudulent — like four major cancer charities that were exposed last year for spending only 3% of $187 million in funds on actual cancer patients.

But don’t fret: There are a few well-established organizations that evaluate charities for you. GiveWell is a nonprofit that vets and rates charities. CharityWatch is another, and Charity Navigator is yet another.

“People unfortunately tend to not do much in the way of research,” CharityWatch president and evaluator Daniel Borochoff told CNBC. “I would strongly encourage them to, because they can exponentially improve the effectiveness of their giving.”

CharityWatch takes a “deep dive” into charities’ use of funds, examining their efficiency, and “exposes nonprofit abuses.”

  • The watchdog ranks charities through an A-F grading system.
  •  It also evaluates how much of the money raised is spent on the actual program it serves — versus its overhead costs. 
  • Efficiency is measured in terms of how much a charity spends for every $100 raised.
  • You can check out evaluations of charities’ “governance and transparency” and learn about high-ranking officers’ salaries.

Charity Navigator is another watchdog that examines the efficacy of charities in terms of financial health, accountability and transparency.

  • You can view charities’ ratings along these dimensions — the maximum is four stars.
  • Charity Navigator also has an assortment of top 10 lists, including everything from most financially inefficient charities to charities with the most consecutive 4-star ratings.

Read more

Has anyone else seen those “please donate $ to me, I am mentally ill, gay, trans, and homeless” posts going around on tumblr? People will legit donate 100s of 1000s of $ to these people blogging that they need funding. Unless you personally know that person or their circumstances, then those are literally the equivalent of scam emails. 

I get that intentions are good, but verifying at least some info first would be a good idea, such as how they’re finding time and internet access to make a blog in the first place. Also note that there are MUCH more secure ways to donate money to causes like that. Individual begging posts on tumblr are suspicious as fuck.

since we’re on the topic, imo médicins sans frontièrs/doctors without borders is really one of the best charities to donate to; they send medical staff to disaster zones all over the world (ranging from wars to natural disasters), or just any place that needs help. they provide emergency and also basic healthcare services. they also have an approach that focuses on training local medical staff, rather than just passing donations to other contractors who then take further cuts (coughARCcough). they have also been speaking up about things like the profiteering in the pharmaceutical industry. i’ve been donating to them for a while & my family doc has volunteered with them a number of times. they’ve also been sending me newsletters showing the latest work they’re doing and how to help. they’re a good charity to donate to if you’re able to spare some money. 

Red Cross Canada does not equal Red Cross America.

Dear Americans. Please stop telling us to not donate to the Canadian Red Cross. Our Red Cross is quite helpful and effective and most donated money reaches the community. It consistently is rated quite high and often gets the highest possible score for charities. Administrative costs are necessary. I would hope that people dedicating their lives to emergency relief are being compensated.

Your anecdotes about the Red Cross in your own community are moot because it’s in the states.

Contrary to popular belief not everything is about you.

Please stop using the Fort McMurray fire as a sounding board for your grievances. People have lost homes, pets, personal items, and livelihoods. Now is not the time.

In celebration of Shark Week starting tonight, and just sharks in general, I created a design to sell on redbubble. All proceeds made from the design will be donated to Shark Savers, a program by WildAid focused on saving sharks and mantas. For more information on why sharks are important, please check out the description on the design’s page and please considering buying a product! And if you don’t like the design but want to help out, donate to Shark Savers!

I am not affiliated with Shark Week, Shark Savers, or Wild Aid.
After the ice bucket challenge: they raised $115m for the fight against ALS. So how did they spend it?
When a viral challenge raised $115m to fight ALS, the charity that got the money was overwhelmed. As the first breakdown of spending emerges, David Cox asks what happened next — and what it means for patients
By David Cox

Wanna feel better about something?  

Of the $115M raised, ALSA has given 70% of it to research projects, including genetic research that might be the best bet for a treatment.  Another 20% was used to reopen assistance centers shuttered during the crash, restore funding to others and build some new ones, and provide assistance to ALS patients all over the country.  The remaining 10% went to publicity, additional fundraising and administration.

Their spokesman said that the increase in visibility and awareness for ALS is immeasurable, and ought to benefit them for years to come.

So next time you get sick of a viral campaign, maybe reconsider.