Can We Frugally Help Victims of the Haiti Earthquake?


This morning I got excited when I read that UPS would ship packages to victims of the Hatia earthquake for free, but listen up folks: That is not correct! UPS says they are not able to ship anything to Haiti earthquake victims right now because of the destruction of roads and other infrastructure.

The how to help Haiti earthquake victims frugally? Here are some easy and inexpensive things you can do for the victims of the Hati earthquake:


  • Use your cell phone to text the keyword Haiti to 90999 to send American Red Cross Haiti donations of $10. I did this yesterday and after I sent the text, I got a message back asking me to text YES to confirm. Then I got a confirmation text back. So you'll know if it worked. (The cheapskate in me was annoyed that I had to pay for four separate text messages, but I figured I would have spent more than 40 cents to put a stamp on an evelop to send a check, so that's not a big deal.) 
  • Or text Yele to 501501 to donate $5.
  • UPDATED TO ADD: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO SEND STUFF AT THIS TIME. This article explains how care packages with medicines and other stuff actually made things worse in past disasters. This article says that at this point cash, not goods, is really the most needed gift. (For those of us with stockpiles of first-aid supplies and toiletries that the disaster has moved us to share, here are some organizations that take donations of goods: Gifts in Kind International and AidMatrix. They may not be planning to send your stuff to Haiti -- currently neither site has anything up about the Haitian earthquake that I see -- but they will send your things where they are most needed. Or drop your stuff off at a local pantry or shelter; people in need are everywhere, after all.)
  • Give to Save the Children through PayPal, Amazon Payments or Google Checkout. This means that you can donate Swagbucks -- you can get $5 on PayPal for every 70 Swagbucks you cash in. They usually send out gift cards you buy on the 16th of the month, so if you want to buy some PayPal money to donate do so asap. (If you have no idea what I'm on about I wrote a brief intro to Swagbucks on my old blog when I joined back in November 2008. It's awesome.)
  • If you can afford to make a donation larger than $10 -- and really I think most of us can -- choose your nonprofit organization carefully. Personally I feel like you can't go wrong with the big charity brands like the Red Cross, CARE, UNICEF or Doctors Without Borders. After all, these big organizations are all on the ground in Haiti or will be shortly. Of course there's nothing wrong with directing your gift towards another organization that resonates with you personaly -- just check Guidestar or another ratings site to make sure the organization will make good use of your funds. (And as always find out if your employer will match your gift.)
  • Check out the Chicago Now blog Chicagosphere for more online giving links.

There are also ways to to donate even if you have no money to give:

        • Search for travel through Donation Travel, which gives you the option of raising money for Mercy Corps' Haitian Relief effort. 
        • Donate miles or rewards points. Starwood and Delta make it possible to donate points or miles to the Red Cross. (You can also get AA bonus miles for your donation.)
        • Zynga has already been raising money for Haiti since October through online gaming, of all things.

Image by XOZ, used via Creative Commons license.



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LoveADeal said:

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I just read an AP article questioning the accounting of the Yele Haiti organization and its founder. Individuals wishing to contribute funds might want to consider one of the other established groups with experience in emergency relief that you provided. See link below -

Jamie C. said:

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Hi Frugalista. Another way of helping haiti is with Chitown Deals. They are doing a benefit to help Haiti. If you buy any deal on the site, they will donate $5 of each deal sold to the American Red Cross Haiti Relief Fund. Spread the word :)

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