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The Optimal Time and Method to Assist the Victims of Maui Wildfires

by Joshua Brown
5 comments
fokus keyword: Maui wildfires donations

The Maui wildfires in Hawaii have left many seeking immediate ways to provide aid and assistance.

Contrary to the immediate impulse to donate, experts have argued that immediate contributions might not be the most effective following such a natural disaster. They advise waiting a week or two until requirements have been identified, and channels for support have been put in place. The experts understand, however, that some people may feel the urgency to act right away.

Here’s what you should know to make your donations most effective for those you’re aiming to assist.

Due to a high number of appeals for help for the people of Hawaii, it might be unclear which organizations should be prioritized at the moment.

Experts are urging donations to Hawaii-based nonprofits that have a history of rapid response in previous crises.

The Hawai’i Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund, which has garnered over $17 million as of Friday, is aimed at “quickly deploying financial resources.” Initially, the focus will be on delivering food, shelter, and immediate financial help, although this may evolve over time.

The Maui United Way has ensured that all contributions will offer “direct relief to families and nonprofits directly impacted” by the wildfires, with a dedicated portal to donate and apply for assistance on their website.

Ensuring Your Donations Reach the Maui Wildfire Victims

Regine Webster, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s vice president, generally advocates for donations to groups with significant local connections and an understanding of the affected communities.

Webster advises, “Hold on a week or two, to perceive where the most profound needs lie.” She encourages directing efforts toward organizations that meet those specific needs, particularly those with expertise in disaster relief and local connections.

Several national and international organizations are already at work in Maui. If you’ve supported groups like World Central Kitchen or the American Red Cross before, you may continue to do so.

Validating Individual or Family Crowdfunding Campaigns

Crowdfunding platform GoFundMe has verified hundreds of campaigns aimed at aiding those who have lost property or been injured due to the fires, taking extra verification steps to ensure the funds go to the rightful organizers.

GoFundMe has gathered over $13 million from more than 100,000 contributors across all 50 U.S. states and 100 countries, as of Monday.

Donors are advised by Hawaii Attorney General Anne Lopez to be cautious of any pushy solicitation, especially if it requests donations through cash, gift cards, Cash App, or Venmo, and to seek clear information about how the contribution will be utilized.

Is There Such a Thing as Donating Too Soon?

Indeed, the requirements during an emergency vary from those in the rebuilding phase.

Honolulu’s Catholic bishop, the Most Reverend Larry Silva, noted that the current challenge is delivering supplies to the displaced, especially as access to some areas is extremely limited.

For example, donations like home furnishings may be beneficial later but are currently problematic in shelters, creating extra costs and storage issues, particularly in an area where space is restricted.

Why is Donating Weeks or Even a Month After the Disaster Vital?

Experts point out that while initial attention may fade, the needs of the victims often remain unmet.

Allowing some time also helps governmental bodies and nonprofits to identify funded and unfunded rebuilding priorities. Subsequent donations can be strategically used to address urgent necessities.

Oprah Winfrey, a part-time resident of Maui, committed to aiding the long-term rebuilding effort, expressing concern over delivering resources to those who truly need them.


AP reporters Thalia Beaty and Giovanna Dell’Orto provided reporting from New York.


For more coverage of philanthropy and nonprofits, visit Big Big News’ dedicated section on the subject, supported through a collaboration with The Conversation US and funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. AP solely manages this content, and the entire philanthropy section can be explored at https://bigbignews.net/philanthropy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about fokus keyword: Maui wildfires donations

What’s the best way to donate to those affected by the Maui wildfires?

Experts suggest waiting a week or two until needs are assessed, then donating to local Hawaii-based nonprofits or reputable organizations with specific disaster expertise.

Which organizations are recommended for donations?

Hawai’i Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund and Maui United Way are mentioned, along with national organizations like World Central Kitchen or the American Red Cross, if you’ve supported them before.

How can I ensure that my donation goes to legitimate crowdfunding campaigns for the Maui wildfires?

GoFundMe has verified hundreds of fundraisers related to the wildfires, and Hawaii Attorney General Anne Lopez advises donors to avoid pushy solicitations and to look for specifics about how the donation will be used.

Can donations arrive too quickly, and why should I consider donating later?

Yes, immediate needs differ from rebuilding needs. Early donations might not address the most pressing needs, and waiting allows for more strategic allocation of funds. Donations may also drop off after initial media attention fades, so later donations can be crucial.

What should I avoid when donating to the Maui wildfire relief efforts?

Avoid people rushing you to donate or asking you to donate with cash, gift cards, Cash App, or Venmo. Look for clear information about how your donation will be used, and consider donating to organizations with local ties and specific disaster expertise.

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5 comments

James R. August 15, 2023 - 6:40 am

This is really helpfull. Been wanting to donate but wasnt sure how to go about it. Now I know I can wait and still make a diference.

Reply
Samantha J. August 15, 2023 - 10:02 am

its so great to see people wanting to help, but its important to do it the right way, nice to see an article that helps with that. I’ll be passing this along.

Reply
Timothy K. August 15, 2023 - 11:29 am

I used to live in Maui, this breaks my heart. The article gives solid advice, I’ll be donating to the Maui Strong Fund for sure.

Reply
Maria L. August 15, 2023 - 1:27 pm

wow! never thought waiting to donate would actualy be a good thing. Thx for the info, glad i read this.

Reply
Aaron P. August 15, 2023 - 4:21 pm

Confused about the crowdfunding part, but rest is clear. i think more focus on how to choose the right organizations could help people, just my 2 cents.

Reply

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