Hurricane Irma: Frequently Asked Questions
We are so grateful for the generosity shown by the GlobalGiving community in response to Hurricane Irma. We're also glad to see donors asking important questions to make sure their donations have the biggest impact possible. The following are answers to frequently asked questions about GlobalGiving's response:
Q: What's your charity rating?
A: GlobalGiving and our Disaster Recovery Network have been given the highest possible rating by Charity Navigator, BBB Wise Giving Alliance, and GuideStar. You can click on these logos to verify our rating.
Q: Where and when did Hurricane Irma hit?
A: Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful hurricanes ever to form in the Atlantic Ocean, cut a path of destruction from the Caribbean to Florida. It hit multiple Caribbean islands, including Barbuda, St. Martin, and St. Barts, on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017, as a Category 5 storm. The powerful hurricane, with historic wind speeds, then made landfall in Cuba, on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. Irma plowed into the Florida Keys as a Category 4 storm on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, struck Naples, Florida, and then made its way up the state toward Georgia as a weakened tropical storm.
Q: How is Hurricane Irma impacting people who were in its path?
A: Several people lost their lives to Hurricane Irma, and officials say the storm has caused billions of dollars of damage. Millions of people are without power and thousands have been displaced from their homes. Irma destroyed 25% of homes in the Florida Keys, according to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency. It destroyed 90% to 95% of Barbuda, a small island nation in the Caribbean, according to its Prime Minister Gaston Brown. Parts of Cuba and the Virgins Islands are also reeling in Irma's aftermath. Thousands of people were stuck in crowded sheltersand, in Barbuda and other islands, were being evacuated, at the time of this report. The full extent of Irma's damage is still being calculated.
A: All donations to this fund will support relief and recovery efforts in affected regions in the Caribbean and the United States. The fund will help first responders meet survivors' immediate needs, including the provision of shelter, medical care, food, and clean water. Once initial relief work is complete, this fund will transition to support longer-term recovery efforts run by vetted, local organizations.
Q: What's GlobalGiving's history in the affected regions?
A: GlobalGiving has longstanding relationships with nonprofits in the Caribbean, Florida, and other areas in Hurricane Irma's path. Our partners in the region provide a range of services in areas such as disaster recovery, healthcare, education, and economic development. GlobalGiving will leverage these existing partnerships to provide relief to hurricane survivors.
Q: What makes the Disaster Recovery Network at GlobalGiving different from other nonprofits?
A:Here's how the Disaster Recovery Network at GlobalGiving works: the GlobalGiving community is made up of large and small nonprofits from more than 170+ countries. When disasters strike, we are committed to connecting people and companies to vetted, locally driven organizations that are immediately responding to needs in their communities. Generally, we believe local organizations are best positioned to assess and to respond to needs in the long term, so we listen carefully to what local organizations deem to be most critical. Our view is that community-led organizations can nimbly and effectively provide for immediate and ongoing community needs. Getting funds to them benefits communities directly and quickly. You can learn more about our approach here.
Read more about how this approach has helped after other disasters:
Q: What's the benefit of GlobalGiving's approach for donors?
A: For donors, GlobalGiving provides a way to help quickly and effectively without having to do a lot of research. Donors can support both immediate relief and long-term recovery with donations to our relief fund. Every NGO that receives funds must commit to sending reports to donors at least quarterly, and we typically conduct site visits to check on the work being done. Donors can subscribe to receive those specific updates and from our site visits, so they can track their money and see what has been accomplished. (Sign up for updates during your donation or using the box at the very bottom right of this page.) An NGO itself, GlobalGiving also works to help companies give to the relief projects that are important to donors. Many companies use GlobalGiving to track and match employee donations to disaster relief efforts, amplifying employee impact and driving further support directly where it's needed.
Q: How will you keep me updated about how my donation is used?
A: Immediately after a disaster we send reports every few weeks describing the efforts that are being supported through the fund, detailing which organizations are receiving funds. As time goes on, we'll share specific stories, photos, and videos from the efforts. You can see we're still reporting on how funds were used for past disasters:
Q: How long will it take for my money to get to disaster-affected areas?
A: We'll make disbursements from the fund as soon as possible, which means your donation could be on the ground in a bank account in 7 days or less. (This is rare for most organizations that aggregate funds as we do!) As the work turns into a long-term recovery effort, we'll disburse funds on a monthly basis.
Q: I saw that there is a fee on donations to GlobalGiving's disaster funds. Can you explain that fee?
A: GlobalGiving, a nonprofit, charges a 5-12% fee on most donations, plus a 3% payment processing fee. GlobalGiving will retain a 12% nonprofit support fee and 3% payment processing fee for donations to our disaster funds. Here's how the nonprofit support fee breaks down: 2% goes to the administrative costs of running GlobalGiving, and the rest of the fee (10%) goes to work like identifying, vetting, and supporting organizations—most of which are local organizations. We also have a team that will work to mobilize corporate, institutional, and individual donations to these groups (many are too busy or small to have the time or connections to do this on their own). Our ability to drive further support from companies turns the GlobalGiving fee into an investment that pays off for local groups on the ground.
Q: How do I know I can trust my donation to GlobalGiving?
A: GlobalGiving is a top-rated (4-star) charity on Charity Navigator. We are also accredited by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. We've been recommended by experts in thousands of articles, including these:
If at any time you're not happy with how your funds have been used, we also offer the GlobalGiving Guarantee.
Q: Can I donate goods, such as bottled water or medical supplies, through GlobalGiving to support relief efforts?
A: Thank you very much for your desire to give what you have in order to help people in need. GlobalGiving does not have the capacity to collect in-kind donations on behalf of our nonprofit partners. Along with the Center for International Disaster Information, we recommend that individuals give cash, and not in-kind donations after disasters. Through cash contributions, relief organizations can do more good for more people, with greater speed and sensitivity than with unrequested material donations. Cash donations provide medical and other life-saving services now, and rebuild infrastructure later. This interesting infographic helps explain why sending material goods, despite the good intentions, can be costly and sometimes harmful. If you are with a company looking to
donate in-kind supplies in bulk, please visit Good360.org.