Soon after news of the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, my food writer friend Betty Ann Besa Quirino, who blogs at Asian in America Magazine, announced she was partnering with her cousin, Purple Yam chef Romy Dorotan, to organize a series of fundraising brunches at the New York restaurant. Betty Ann says:
"We called the fundraiser Tulong-Tulong sa Pilipinas (Helping for the Philippines). I knew I had good visibility on social media and could use this to share info about the fundraiser. In less than two days, the event was sold out, booked solid. It gives me so much happiness to share what I can do."
Bloggers are community-oriented people. We know the power of human connection, and we recognize that we have the social media influence to encourage others to get involved for causes that are important to us. In the wake of the terrible devastation in Tacloban, it is heartening to see so many people using their online reach to raise funds to help those in need.
Nov. 13, 2013 - Tacloban, Philippines - A mother and her young child seek refuge in a damaged school in a neighbourhood in Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines in search of help. Survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines are increasingly desperate for food, water and medical supplies, officials in affected areas say. The official death toll stands at more than 2,000, though some reports say it could be as high as 10,000. The UN says more than 11 million people may have been affected and some 673,000 displaced. On Tuesday, eight people died when a wall collapsed as thousands of survivors mobbed a food warehouse. (Credit Image: © Lui Siu Wai/Xinhua/ZUMAPRESS.com)
Non-profit innovator and blogger Beth Kanter has been blogging about her many connections to the Philippines. She says, of her Filipino sister-in-law,
"She and her family live in the US now and like many American Filipinos they are rushing to send aid to their homeland. There is “Bayanihan’ Spirit” or the Filipino word for community which includes lots grassroots fundraising through smaller nonprofits (offline and online) and the church. "
Kanter's friend, non-profit social media expert Shai Coggins shares some advice on how to give to the right charity:
1. I’d like my donation to go directly to the aid of the people affected by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. That’s why I passed up on organisations whose “donate” button sent me to a general “international crisis” fund.
2. I want to donate to a local organisation who’s already doing the work in the affected areas. Reading news articles that pointed me to organisations who are already sending in people and aid made me look at their work more closely. This way, I can just support what they’ve started.
3. I need the donation process to be simple and straightforward, and one I can help to promote to others who might want to donate too.That’s why I liked donation pages that offer several options to send in the money – from Paypal and online credit cards to cheques and bank transfers.
Shai has chosen to make her donation through the Philippines Red Cross.
In another innovative online campaign to raise funds to help typhoon victims, Patrick Epino and Steven Dypiangco, the YouTube sensations known as The National Film Society, hosted a YouTube telethon Tuesday night, which raised over $2,000 in just a few hours for non-profits -- including Mercy Corps, Save the Children, and Catholic Relief Services.
If you missed that pledge drive, there's also some ongoing online auctions that are donating their proceeds to charity. A group of British authors led by Candy Gourlay has created Authors for the Philippines, an online auction to raise money for Red Cross efforts to help victims of Typhoon Haiyan. Beginning today, November 13, the site is offering a wide variety of literary items -- including signed books, author events and manuscript critiques by published novelists and agents. Click here for a list of all Authors for the Philippines auction items. Online bidding ends November 20.
And on Tumblr, Art for the Victims of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda is a collection of items for sale by various artists. Note that while some of these items are available for online auction, others are for sale at local venues in the Phillippines.
Unfortunately, I've also been hearing much talk on the Internet about disreputable organizations that are trying to collect money under the guise of aiding typhoon victims. If you're in doubt about a charity, do a little research, find out if the group is truly a 501c3 registered non-profit organization, and if your donation will be earmarked specifically to help the typhoon victims. For more tips on how to donate wisely, read Beth's post Sending Prayers and Concrete Help to the Phillippines: Bayanihan Spirit for more of her suggested organizations.
Are you donating to help victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philllippines? Tell us how you are giving and share your suggestions in the comments
News and Politics Editor Grace Hwang Lynch blogs about raising an Asian mixed-race family at HapaMama.
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