What You Can Do Right Now to Help in Haiti

The television images from Haiti’s earthquake are haunting me and I suspect everyone else who has seen them. People around the world want to help, and for the moment, right now the best thing to do is to contribute money. Fortunately, social media and the Web make this easier than ever.

If you’re a subscriber to AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Nextel, Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile or Sprint, you can donate $10 via text message. All you have to do is click — your donation will show up on next month’s bill. My colleague Crystal Davis, who leads our crisis communications team at Sprint has a great blog post about how the process of mobile giving works. She’s also has the short codes for five major relief efforts.

My friend Sunita Ray, who works in corporate communications for KPMG, pointed out on her Facebook page this morning that if you’re donating to organizations like the Red Cross, you should be sure to check your company’s matching gift program before you press “submit” on that donation website.  KPMG matches employee donations dollar for dollar.  According to www.matchinggifts.com, ten percent of us work for companies with a matching gift program.

Speaking of Facebook, my friend Andrew Noyes, who works in PR for well, Facebook, pointed out a Facebook resource for disaster relief on his Facebook status this morning. (As an FYI, I’ve never written the word Facebook that many times in one sentence.) Andrew suggested that his friends become fans of  Global Relief on Facebook. The page seeks to “spotlight efforts on Facebook to help respond to disasters around the globe.”

Earlier this morning, President Obama addressed the situation in Haiti and he described what people and governments around the world are doing to help. In his remarks, the President had a special message for the Haitian people which bears repeating. The President said in part:

Finally, I want to speak directly to the people of Haiti.  Few in the world have endured the hardships that you have known.  Long before this tragedy, daily life itself was often a bitter struggle.  And after suffering so much for so long, to face this new horror must cause some to look up and ask, have we somehow been forsaken?     

To the people of Haiti, we say clearly, and with conviction, you will not be forsaken; you will not be forgotten.  In this, your hour of greatest need, America stands with you.  The world stands with you.  We know that you are a strong and resilient people.  You have endured a history of slavery and struggle, of natural disaster and recovery.  And through it all, your spirit has been unbroken and your faith has been unwavering.  So today, you must know that help is arriving — much, much more help is on the way. 


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