Philanthropy

Philanthropists are asking: How can I help Ukrainians?

Mar 11, 2022

Here are ways to give effectively during humanitarian crises.

Donors are looking to support the people of Ukraine—those still in their country and the millions fleeing to the safety of other nations. 

Needs are fast-changing as the crisis unfolds. Civil society organizations, human rights groups and humanitarian and relief agencies are actively setting up and scaling operations.

To help you give effectively in a fast-moving humanitarian crisis, we offer these insights. 

Understand that needs evolve

Immediate assistance (emergency shelter, food and healthcare) is critical, of course. So you may want to donate to the humanitarian assistance and relief organizations that historically have been ready and able to deploy this kind of help during crises. However, you might first confirm that the non-profit you select has a distribution channel to get emergency supplies to Ukrainians. It is also helpful to ask whether their efforts are coordinated with other charities and governments, as that may make their efforts more effective.

Direct cash assistance to organizations and cash payments to individuals in need may be the hardest to track but does offer the greatest flexibility, which is helpful to individuals in crisis seeking goods and services they and their families require.

It’s also wise to plan now for longer-term needs that will clearly follow. Heart-rending images often inspire crisis giving while the prolonged suffering of displaced persons is harder to see.  Philanthropy can play a crucial role in not only providing initial support but also in bridging funding gaps for long-term needs—before governments are able to organize ongoing assistance.

Long-term assistance after a conflict  helps people and communities rebuild their lives. This can include  infrastructure development, mental health, education, workforce development, and peace and security. Donors can look to organizations experienced in rebuilding in countries post-conflict, providing counseling and trauma-informed care, and economic recovery  to support these needs.

During humanitarian crises, there is often a specific need to support refugees. This can include:

  • Emergency relief—those who’ve just crossed a border usually need food, water, clothing, blankets, emergency medical care, mental health care, translation services and temporary shelter. The stabilization of and assistance to vulnerable arrivals is critical during this period.
  • Long-term care—the creation of service networks for refugees (such as primary care and mental health services); keeping refugee children in school; language and literacy training; income generating and job-training activities; specialized support for women and girls; legal assistance, family reunification, resettlement and repatriation opportunities.

Stick to best practices

However you choose to give, the principles of effective philanthropy can help you have a greater impact:

  1. Remain flexible. Being patient, creative, and willing to assume some degree of financial risk can provide organizations with the resources they need at the right time.
  2. Know the charity you are supporting. During times of crisis, the charities available to receive donations may suddenly seem to proliferate. Ideally, you want to make your donation through existing, registered charities. Look for charities that have proven track records of success in conflict or humanitarian response, working with vulnerable populations, and/or familiarity with the target region. Supporting local organizations and initiatives is also important.
    If you are a U.S. taxpayer, confirm a charity’s tax identification number before making a donation. If you choose to work with a new charity created specifically to deal with the current crisis, be sure to ask for proof the organization has applied for its 501(c)3 status with the Internal Revenue Service or that it is using a registered, fully functional fiscal sponsor to gather funds.1
  3. Check the organization’s quality.  Look at an organization’s leadership, relationships with local governments and other nonprofits, ability to assess the needs on the ground, and capacity to manage a rapid influx of funding. Review the organization’s website, where its mission statements, strategic plans, policy documents, audited financial statements, annual reports and biographies of senior leaders may be posted. Search news coverage on the organization, its leaders and partners, as well as outcomes of its efforts. 
  4. Ensure your gift will be used for your intended purposes. Align your donation with your particular giving interests. Consider restricting your gifts to a specific purpose if needed. You also may want to require recipient charities to provide periodic reports both on current needs and their responses; but be careful not to divert resources away from the organization’s main function. If you are contributing significant funds to an organization, see whether it makes sense to check in directly with the organization’s work and leadership three to six months after you’ve made the donation to see how your funding is being deployed.
  5. Be a good partner. Establish relationships and partnerships with key stakeholders and be open to providing funding where needs are greatest.
  6. Fund for the long-term. Most humanitarian fundraising efforts decline dramatically within six months after a crisis event. Conflict response and management requires long-term strategies for building and maintaining peace and security. 

Leverage help and expertise

Wherever you may live, J.P. Morgan Private Bank is committed to helping you enhance your philanthropic impact by offering advice, thought leadership and learning opportunities as well as grant-making expertise and foundation administration. To learn more, we encourage you to contact your J.P. Morgan team.

For U.S. philanthropists, giving internationally can be particularly challenging, due to U.S. restrictions and tax laws, and the difficulties in properly vetting local charities in other countries. Donor-advised funds can be a helpful vehicle to overcome these hurdles. J.P. Morgan offers the Charitable Giving Fund in partnership with the non-profit National Philanthropic Trust. To learn more, click here.  

 

 

1In the United States, grant makers can also check Charity Navigator, a centralized charity rating organization, or Candid, a source for researching and verifying nonprofits. Currently, there are no similar organizations based in other countries

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