The Haiti Crisis
you’re like me, you want to contribute to help those in need in Haiti.
The Haitian earthquake created a disaster almost beyond words. It’s so
vast and the situation is so desperate, it’s hard to understand what to
do or who to contribute to.
I’m going to
make a suggestion. I’m in the fundraising business, but I don’t have
any relief clients who are working in Haiti. I don’t have an axe to
grind and I certainly don’t have a conflict of interest. I believe I
do, however, know some good guidelines for choosing which nonprofit to
give your gift to.
In my opinion the best
groups to give to are the small charities that have a minimum of
overhead and have a very defined program to assist Haitians in their
recovery efforts. And if they already have a track record of working in
Haiti, that’s even better. There are a number of groups that meet the
I have learned over the
years that very large charities operate like very large corporations.
They have a vast bureaucracy and one of their primary goals is to
protect their turf. Whether their mission has to do with natural
disasters or health or general welfare, protecting their turf too often
takes precedence over their stated objectives. Some even maintain a
large number of in-house lawyers to not only lobby Congress for earmarks
and grants, but also take measures to make it difficult for new groups
to enter the marketplace. Like giant corporations, giant charities
often use government to squeeze out competition so that they can have a
monopoly on raising funds for their cause.
why my wife, Kathi, and I have sent a donation to a small but effective
group that was already working in Haiti before the earthquake
occurred. The group is Agape Flights (www.agapeflights.com)
located in Venice, Florida. Agape is now in an emergency mode. They
have the right contacts and know what needs to be done. They have
solved the dilemma of getting supplies to those in need by utilizing a
ship to provide urgently needed supplies and by using helicopters to
reach into remote areas.
Our good friend,
Don Kerndt, who, together with his wife, Sue, used to live in our
neighborhood, works at Agape as their Chief Financial Officer on a
completely pro bono basis. I personally toured Agape the last time we
visited Don and Sue and I can tell you it is a very focused and very
efficiently run organization.
If you decide
to contribute through Agape [a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt foundation] you can
designate your gift directly for the Haitian Earthquake relief and you
can be confident that your dollars will be spent wisely and effectively.
most important of all, please keep the people of Haiti and all the
relief workers in your prayers. Through prayer, mountains can be
moved. And that’s exactly what needs to happen in Haiti.