I Donated to the Red Cross (and others are too)

I realize that this is completely off topic from the Web Strategy blog, but I’ve a loud voice, and there’s many well to do readers of this blog, so this is one of the best ways I can apply my resources.

I’ve got earthquake supplies in my closet and garage, I know the ‘big one’ is going to hit us someday in Silicon Valley and it’s going to be pretty bad, I’m expecting at least a week without proper aid or food. I’m sure that things are much worse in Burma and China, so I’m somewhat sensitive to this disaster.

Death Toll:
Cyclone at Burma: Over 34,000 dead, Updated May 13th
Earthquake in China: Over 12,000 dead Updated May 13th
Update Wed: Over 60,000 are missing, death toll could rise.

I donated some money, although not enough to turn the tide. I’m curious, what are you doing out there? Leave links to organizations that are helping, in particular those that are using the internet to do good.

You can start by donating to the American Red Cross, or World Vision.

Update: over 1000 students are injured, not good.

Update 2: Yo Scoble, I see you’re talking about Twitter and the earthquake, why not do a blogpost pointing to the redcross or some other org that can help? You’ve got 3 times the juice I got. Do something with it!

Update 2.5: Scoble came through and told 22,000+ people on Twitter, thanks!

Update 3: Eric Gonzales, who I’ve known since 2000 has donated and is spreading the word. Daniele has posted that he donated as well, thanks. Eric of CN reviews is posting up pictures, videos, and live reports, staggering. Len Devanna, EMC’s Web Strategist has also donated, he’s someone worth knowing, I’ve met him several times.

Update 4: Tuesday morning, I feel a snowball effect happening, this is great

Update 5: Wednesday Morning: Damon Billian of the mint (and someone I’ve known for a few years) has donated $100, see comment 34. Elliot Ng has put together a list of ways you can donate, not just to the Red Cross.

Update 6: Wednesday Morning: Alright, now we’re getting traction, Sarah Lacy has donated money too!

43 Replies to “I Donated to the Red Cross (and others are too)”

  1. Well said Jeremiah. Probably the best post I’ve read in a while actually.

    Calling people to action is much more effective than reporting the news.

    Well done.

  2. ==> “why not do a blogpost pointing to the redcross or some other org that can help?”

    No No, what you are really saying is – hey why dont you just put your mouth where your money is and then talk about it !!

    ==>>”You™ve got 3 times the juice I got. Do something with it!”

    Thats Bullshit and very condescending ! EVery1 has their own Juice , whether its 3x times or more is a mute point !

  3. /PD

    Condescending or not, I’m encouraging to the elite.

    Yes everyone has juice, but Scoble’s got an incredible amount, and he talks to the tech elite and tech influentials, they have resources, power, and money.

    He can make a difference.

  4. I’d recommend supporting the World Food Programme, the UN’s (and world’s largest) humanitarian aid organization. They are the first responders to emergencies throughout the globe and also build a variety of sustainability efforts in the communities that are rebuilding.


  5. Hey Jeremiah,

    First of all, thanks for referring to the people of Burma rather than Myanmar — it’s driving me batty on Twitter.

    I used to be an international development consultant and I would say that the Red Cross is a really safe vote for funding in times of crisis. Save the Children Sweden and UK also get high marks from me. But Red Cross are one of the only orgs that can get permission to enter safely into a crisis zone. World Vision, on the other hand, unless you want Jesuit dogma served alongside your aid, I would think twice (I’ve seen and filmed some really questionable ethics in the field — in Uganda in particular — where World Vision required a community to adopt its religious practices in order to get, say, a school).

    Kudos for getting the word out there that help is needed, and that people should think carefully where to invest their aid and relief dollars.

  6. Sun Microsystems is doing an online Global Disaster Drive. http://vad.aidmatrix.org/vadxml.cfm?driveid=1203 You don’t have to be an employee to contribute, although you do have to be an employee to get matching gifts from Sun. I donated here today and will probably do something through the International Red Cross, too.

    Thanks for the post, it was nice to see. Don’t apologize for being “off topic.” If we can’t use the Web to strategize about how to help each other, what is it good for? 🙂

  7. /PD – I believe Jeremiah simply requested a more productive post … Not I covered it first because … I’ve > 20K followers on twitter.

    It’s the quality and intent of the post. For coverage and community response

  8. The thing is, sending money to the many orgs that want to help doesn’t mean it gets to those in need. In Burma for example, the Junta is blocking aid and people are dying.

    I agree, people like Scoble and all of us who are involved in social media can use our collective weight to try to get things changed so these people do get aid.(Just as you are doing here)

    Here’s a link to more about the Myanmar/Burma crisis, and some people that are getting through.

    As for China, they have openly requested aid and the Red Cross is the best bet there. They are better organized than most aid orgs and are first on the ground working.

  9. I’ve blogged live from a major natural disaster before (the Indian Ocean tsunami), and I also agree it’s just not enough to tell the story. Provide people with direct actions they can take to help if they so choose.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to donate, and the time and space to use your “stature”, if you will, to multiply the good.

    A close friend of mine is Burmese, resides in SF Bay Area, and is leaving for Burma next week (visa confirmed), so I’m helping him directly because I know him to be reliable, and is constantly returning to his village bring in aid due to the poverty there.

    I’ve set up a ChipIn widget for his direct aid trip, http://panmesa.chipin.com/burma-cyclone

    Also, he’ll be guest at a fun-raiser (D.I.Y. fingerpainted gift cards) and artshow at Citizen Space, http://www.citizenspace.us thanks to Tara Hunt, on Saturday, May 17th, 6-8 p.m. Scrumptious Burmese food will be served. I’ll get you an Upcoming link asap.

  10. Oxfam is my favorite relief organization. Red Cross may have the best infrastructure, but maintaining that generally means that fewer aid dollars reach those in need.

    Glad to see Dina Mehta is back on the front lines!

  11. Awesome post! Although there are probably a ton more out there, Red Cross & MercyCorps are the ones I donated to for both Burma & the earthquake. They both have existing programs in the area, and according to Charity Navigator they have very high percentages of donated dollars going directly to the emergencies, instead of fundraising/admin costs. And they both let you specify exactly which emergency/program you want the money to go to (for Red Cross, you have to phone in your donation in order to specify.) But even if it goes into the general fund, its helping someone. God bless everyone for having such a heart to help!!

  12. Vygantas

    Not sure if I agree, I see plenty of people’s names on the walls at museums that have donated.

    If I’m going to stand behind a cause with my dollars, I might as well do the next most powerful thing and tell the world. I’m no savior, and I didn’t contribute that much money, but I’m trying to trigger awareness here for the 10k who died and many else who else may die without relief.

    Let’s look beyond my stupid ego and see the bigger picture.

  13. Thank you for taking the time to bring attention to these causes. There is no reason why you should feel compelled to keep your donation secret. We can all set an example for others. Social media is such a powerful tool; there is no reason why we cannot use it to work out the world’s ills.

    I help a group of Burmese refugees here in Austin. It is so disheartening to hear their stories, but I do feel like I can help them by using social media as a tool to communicate with others who can also offer assistance.

    If anyone reading this wants to help Burmese refugees here in town communicate with their loved ones back home, please donate calling cards. They have no means for knowing what is happening to their families:

    Let’s offer the assistance traditional media cannot offer ;).

  14. “…Many bloggers (Eric, Jeremiah, Daniele… many more) are helping drive awareness around the desperate needs. Global charities have put out the call for help…”

  15. Jeremiah:
    I applaud you taking the time to use your blog to go for the head and the tail of donation opportunities. Everyone can make a difference. If everyone donated $5 – $10 today just because of this post…then the impact is so much more significant than if you had kept it to yourself.

    What about local charities as well? Going forward, why not donate some social media “air” time (once a month perhaps) to our local not-for-profits? For those looking to experiment with social media techniques or build your resume or portfolio, go to your local charities and try it out there. The folks who struggling to make every donation dollar count would welcome any help we could provide.

  16. Jeremiah,

    I donated also and have a blog entry I made the night the earthquake happened. I was up and saw the tweets starting to come through and immediately my heart went out to all those people.

    I wish I could have given more but will add the Red Cross button to my blog entry and put a call out for donations. Every dollar counts.

  17. Great stuff, Jeremiah. This adds a whole new meaning to “social” media…

    Another good way to “give” and help others in need – locally and abroad – is to give blood. It’s free, harmless, takes an hour or so, and your body replenishes what you give in a matter of days. And you can donate money while you’re there, if you like!

    Go to http://www.givelife.org to schedule an appointment at a local donation center.

  18. Jeremiah – Thanks for using your influence and coaxing others to do good in a time when it’s truly needed. I’m anxious to see and hear what type of impact your community can make and what they are doing in their own, separate communities.

  19. This is the type of stuff my blog, MaxGladwell.com, is devoted to, in the context of social media, so your post caught my attention. Way to use your reach. We live in SoCal and know that the odds are way against us. There hasn’t been a big one in more than 100 years. Northridge in ’94 was a tremor, relatively speaking, at about 6.4, and it caused huge damage.

    After Katrina, I woke up to the reality that we’re on our own. I bought a generator and keep a stock of water, food, and propane. Heck, I bought a chainsaw in case I need to cut through anything. The China quake is exactly what we’re in for. Let’s just hope our building codes and first-world infrastructure can keep casualties to a minimum.

  20. The Myanmar issue is somewhat of a concern, largely because I don’t want to do anything that gives the generals additional control over the people of Myanmar. I think it is a complete travesty that the aid that has made it there isn’t making it to the people in need.

    My hope: That this issue, while unfortunate, causes the people to rise against the junta.

    If someone knows of a way to get money directly to the people in need, I am all game to help. For now, I will probably just donate to the Red Cross via PayPal for Myanmar.

  21. This is a fantasic example of social media being used for social justice!

    Anyone have any idea why the donation levels on the causes on Facebook are so bad? My guess is that there are still trust issues online…

  22. Hi CS,

    I think there’s a lot of causes on Facebook & that’s probably the primary issue. If the targeting, as much as I hate to say it, is made better through some application of some sort…then folks will be able to donate to causes that match their interests.

    Causes I’ve given to on Facebook:
    Kiva.org (micro-finance)
    Save Our Stripes (I love Big Cats).

    Another limiting factor is that the payment mechanism doesn’t appear to be an already accepted internet solution (I would make PayPal the option on Facebook for Causes).

  23. great post. i am a regular reader of your blog and find your advice very useful. i am a charity worker and think its great that you used your blog’s platform to promote the disaster in Burma and China.
    Islamic Relief are doing some great work around the world and have already got a sizable team on the ground in Burma helping those who need it.

    you can donate by clicking here

    All of us with even a small amount of influence online should use it for good. Good on ya Jeremiah

  24. Ok, as the situation in China is now more severe than initially thought, I just donated 100.00 to the fund in China as well (by PayPal, of course..hahah).

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