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2 ways to support Ukrainians…

And one thing you MUST avoid!

The war in Ukraine was declared on 27 February 2022. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have fled to neighbouring countries. All men aged between 18 and 60 have been prevented from leaving the country to stay and fight. Most of those fleeing are women and children.

For many of us, we have a burning desire to help those in crisis. We want to make sure our money gets to those most in need, as soon as possible. 

However, giving money in times of crisis is challenging. During a crisis, charities can receive an unprecidented influx of funds. They need to get the money out the door in a short period of time to those that need it. This requires exceptional logistical skills as well as a strong understanding of community groups that are active in supporting those at risk. The more experienced a charity is in crisis logistics and the better their onground connections, the more successful they will be at making sure your donation gets to those in need. 

We recommend 2 different approaches to getting your money to those in need and what to avoid. The first is by getting first-hand knowledge from your local Ukrainian community. The second is by trusting large multinational charities to identify and distribute the money for you. We also highlight what you should avoid doing. 

1. Get advice from your local communities

One of the best ways to get money to where it is most needed is by talking to those that have personal connections with those on the ground. Many local Ukrainian community groups across the world are actively seeking out funds to help out their loved ones’ communities’. 

  • Find your local Ukrainian community. Finding the Ukrainian community group in your city is as easy as a google search. Use terms such as “Ukrainian Association”. Identify relevant groups and review their website and community forums to verify they are a legitimate organisation. Check things like when they were founded, who they are managed by and what’s required to be a member of the organisation. Don’t be put off by a bad website: many community organisations have terrible websites.
  • Find out if they are fundraising. Review the relevant community group’s news and/or Facebook pages and find out if they have started any fundraising campaigns, or if they are supporting any fundraising campaigns external to their organisation. 
  • Undertake basic due diligence on the campaign. If they are fundraising, review the campaign to understand how the money is being used. Which organisations and/or communities will be supported? Who is responsible for the campaign? What is the background and/or experience of those running the campaign? The more specific they are about how the funding is being used, the better. 
  • Ask questions, but be mindful of the situation. If you have any additional questions, reach out to them. Bear in mind that this is a period of crisis, so you may not get a response.

Note that there is a degree of risk in supporting grassroots fundraising campaigns. These organisations are usually small and not particularly transparent with their operations or how they use the funds. However, if you can verify the integrity of those running the campaign, it is a good way to get funds to those that most need them in a short period of time. 

2. Use large multinational charities

Some of us would prefer to give to a well-established organisation that we recognise and trust.  This is a legitimate way of getting funds to those in most need. However, make sure your donation is impactful by following these steps:

  • Identify the international development charities that work in areas affected by war, crisis and refugees. You can search this using the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission database. 
  • Find out if they are raising funds. Have they started up a fundraising campaign specifically for the crisis? Will the funds be directed to those affected by the Ukraine war or will it go to a general fund? If the funds are directed to a general fund, this indicates that donations will be used for all services/programs the charity delivers, not just this war.
  • Verify that they are actually supporting those affected by conflict. Review the charity’s reports of the situation to find out if they have actually deployed workers into Ukraine or neighbouring countries (like Poland).
  • Ask questions. If you have questions about how your funds will be used, reach out to them. Large international charities have fundraising teams that should be able to assist you in better understanding how your money will be used. 

Giving to large multinational charities can provide a safe home for your donation. However, there are some caveats. These organisations will usually take longer to get your donation to where it needs to be as they have bigger bureaucracies. Also, many of these institutions will be heavily government funded. They may have extremely impressive results, but this is often a consequence of multi-million dollar government contracts. 

3. Avoid

It can be tempting to want to donate to a crowdfunding campaign during times of crisis. You will usually come across these campaigns in your social media channels. Often, the stories are compelling and the call to action extremely strong. We recommend avoiding donating funds to crowdfunding campaigns. There are two main reasons for this:

  • crowdfunding platforms have been known to delay or cancel the payout of funds
  • there is limited due diligence behind crowdfunding campaigns; stories of “need” are easy to forge.

Conclusion

Right now there is a strong urge within all of us to support innocent people facing the war in Ukraine. By following these two recommended methods and what to avoid, you can make sure that your donation gets to those most needed. If you still don’t know where to start, get in touch with us. Seedling offers free charity matching services to help you find a charity that aligns with your objectives and that assists those most in need. 

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