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Helping Others

The compassion and generosity of the American people is never more evident than after a disaster. People want to help. Here are some general guidelines on helping others after a disaster:

Donate Cash

Financial contributions to a recognized disaster relief organization are the most effective donation to make.

  • Most needed and the most efficient way of helping those impacted by disaster.
  • Allow voluntary organizations to fund response and recovery efforts, obtain goods and services locally, and provide direct financial assistance to disaster survivors to meet their own needs.
  • Make a financial contribution to the voluntary organization of your choice.
  • If you need help in determining who to give to, National Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster website has a list of major non-profits that are active in disaster work or you can make your offer through the National Donations Management Network.

When the public supports these voluntary organizations with financial contributions, it helps ensure a steady flow of important services to the people in need after a disaster.


Volunteers in matching t-shirts arrive to aid in disaster clean-up.Volunteer with local organizations to aid disaster victims.

Volunteer with a recognized organization involved in disaster response and recovery prior to the next disaster event.

The generosity and kindness of people around the country does a lot to help communities heal from the tragic consequences of disasters.

Donate Goods

Volunteers organize donated non-perishable food items.Learn ways that you can effectively help others after a disaster.

Confirm what is needed BEFORE taking action!

  • Donate in-kind goods that are specifically requested or needed by recognized organizations.
  • Unsolicited donated goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, and mixed or perishable foodstuffs require helping agencies to redirect valuable resources away from providing services to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.
  • Confirm the needs by contacting the voluntary organization of your choice before starting to collect.
  • If you have a quantity of a given item or class of item to donate, and you need help in determining which organizations to give to, you can make your offer through the National Donations Management Network.

Everyone is moved when they hear the news that disaster has struck a community. By learning the best ways to donate and volunteer, we can all make a huge difference in the lives of those affected.