THE BLOG
12/03/2013 07:11 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2014

How You Can Help Typhoon Victims Today While Also Helping to Build a Future

Give to a nonprofit that will provide urgent care to victims who are suffering today, or to organizations that will help rebuild for the longer term? That's a tough choice for many of us who are moved to act when we see children and families suffering from the violence of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

Fortunately, there is an online giving platform -- GlobalGiving -- that ensures that your contributions (perhaps your holiday gift cards) reach local NGOs (the term used for nonprofits when not in the U.S.) that do both --provide immediate as well as long term support to help revitalize communities. Moreover, GlobalGiving -- which vets all of the NGOs on its website -- helps to further develop these organizations to become even more effective, deepen their impact, measure and report on their progress, and expand their bases of support.

Key staff from NGOs in Japan that were funded by donors through GlobalGiving's online giving platform following the March 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami talked with me in private interviews about the value of GlobalGiving's approach. "GlobalGiving has helped us to accomplish more than we could ever have imagined," explained Miyako Hamasaka from the Japan Emergency NGO (JEN), a well established NGO that supports victims of natural disasters and conflicts by helping to "heal the wounds of trauma, get their resumes ready to apply for the jobs which they are skilled for, moving step by step until they become completely self-reliant." JEN works in eight countries, including Japan, Afghanistan and Haiti.

To begin with, GlobalGiving has helped JEN to raise $427,545 from individuals and corporations, and through a grant, over the past two-and-a-half years since the tsunami. To achieve such success, GlobalGiving assisted JEN in creating an English website, and providing evidenced-based progress reports online and to donors. The website and reports are key to engaging donors from the US and UK, thereby building the NGO's long term funding base. For its donors, GlobalGiving provides assurances by conducting on-site visits, in addition to vetting every one of the NGOs on its website. Since the tsunami, JEN was visited once by Mari Kuraishi, co-founder and President of GlobalGiving, and twice by Britt Lake, Director of Programs.

Additionally, GlobalGiving offers fundraising training to the NGOs on its website and connects them with each other for them to build an information-sharing community.

"Our approach in the Philippines is to use the cash that is donated to procure relief goods here in Manila, and then send the water, food, and supplies by truck into the most severely affected areas," explained Kaye Quiban, Program Coordinator for Civic Force, a major Japan-based, disaster-relief NGO that is working in collaboration with the Citizen Disaster Response Center and a grassroots disaster relief organization in the Philippines. "When we worked in Thailand after the floods in 2011, we also bought locally -- because it's best to have goods that match local tastes, and we are supporting the local economy. We also partnered with a local, grassroots NGO." Quiban elaborated: "Since we don't know the local community, we rely on the expertise of our partners. Ultimately, we try to help them to become stronger organizations to assist people in rebuilding their lives."

Both Quiban and Kaori Neki, co-founder of Civic Force, described for me the essential support provided by donors through GlobalGiving -- both in the immediate aftermath of natural disasters and then in "Phase II" when it's time to help people to restore their homes and their lives. And as with JEN, GlobalGiving provided tremendous value by helping Civic Force to create an English website to engage donors from the US and UK, and develop and provide evidence-based reports for contributors. GlobalGiving program staff also visited Civic Force for site visits.

Naoki Ogiwara is Vice President of Project YUI, a grassroots NGO in Japan that provides play space and education for children in the areas most affected by the 2011 tsunami, as well as job training and placement services for their parents. Ogiwara also attested to the value of GlobalGiving helping to create the English website, access to individual and corporate donors in the US and UK, and fundraising training. "We could never have achieved the visibility, credibility, and support we've gained through our relationship with GlobalGiving. It's allowed us to access support to accomplish so much."

For a meaningful gift, and a long-lasting gift, consider GlobalGiving -- for a contribution and for holiday gift cards. For a better world.