The Best Ways To Give To Charity During The Coronavirus Crisis Many lives have been turned upside down by the coronavirus crisis, and many want to help. But what is the best way to give in this uncertain time? Here are some tips for picking your charity wisely.
NPR logo

'All Giving Is Very Necessary.' Ways To Give To Charity During The Coronavirus Crisis

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/818518736/818518737" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
'All Giving Is Very Necessary.' Ways To Give To Charity During The Coronavirus Crisis

'All Giving Is Very Necessary.' Ways To Give To Charity During The Coronavirus Crisis

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/818518736/818518737" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Many people's lives have been turned upside down by the coronavirus crisis, and many others want to help. But what is the best way to give in this uncertain time? To help with that question, I'm joined now by Stacy Palmer. She is editor of The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Stacy Palmer, welcome.

STACY PALMER: Thank you for having me.

KELLY: So what would you tell someone who wants to help, wants to give money to help people, but has no idea where to start?

PALMER: It's very confusing right now, but people should give as generously as they can and not worry too much about what the right thing to do is because all giving is very necessary. There are lots of informal campaigns sprouting up. You can give money to a restaurant worker who might be laid off from work or do those kinds of things. But you can also give to the same charities that you give to all the time, the ones that you count on for services.

So a lot of people are encouraging folks to think about both things. Give, you know, a small gift to somebody who's in need, and give to the organizations in your community that really make a difference, groups like - that serve the homeless. All those kinds of organizations are doing amazing kinds of work, but we might not think about the fact that arts organizations are struggling at this time, educational groups. So there are lots of organizations in need.

KELLY: OK. So let's tick through what to do if you have an idea where you want to direct your money. You mentioned restaurant workers, for example. If I want to target my donations to people who've been laid off as a cook or a dishwasher or a waiter, where do I go? What do I do?

PALMER: You can probably look online and find some local efforts that are underway. And one of the things I think that's smart is if we all take care of each other in our own communities. That will make some sense.

KELLY: So think local. OK.

PALMER: So think local. Look at your United Way community foundations. Those organizations are rounding up information, and they're checking out to make sure that things are reputable. So that's always a good place to go just to see what's going on. There are lots of face groups, obviously, and Twitter and those kinds of things. So you can pay attention to those as well.

KELLY: To the point about making sure that where I'm giving is reputable - I mean, I've been looking around. You can find all kinds of GoFundMe pages, Facebook pages, as you mentioned, spreadsheets, listing Venmo accounts from people who say they've been laid off. But how do I know it's not a scam?

PALMER: That is the big question. And unfortunately in catastrophes like this, we often see a lot of scams crop up. So if you're really not sure if something looks a little fishy, just don't give that way. Give to a traditional organization that will help.

Many people have been trying to check out the people who are seeking help, you know, online one on one and also deciding that, you know, if I have 10- or $15 to spare, I'm just going to give it away and hope that it really does good. So sometimes we have to look out for the best instinct. But definitely, any pressure tactics, anything that looks fishy - don't give that way. Your money can be put to better use.

KELLY: And to throw a couple of other options at you, we're also hearing about kids at home who were used to getting free school lunches. They're not getting them now. We're obviously trying to help elderly people who are so isolated and at risk right now. Advice on if I want to give my money and make sure it gets to those people and gets there fast.

PALMER: Yeah. So there is an organization called No Kid Hungry that has an effort to make sure that no kid does go hungry. That is a collection of information. And Feeding America is a great place that has all the food banks, those kinds of things. So you can quickly tap into those and find local efforts.

KELLY: All right. Some great advice there for all of us trying to do what we can to help in these very, very unsettled times. That's Stacy Palmer, the editor of The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Stacy Palmer, thank you.

PALMER: Thank you.

Copyright © 2020 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.