Donations & Volunteers

In a disaster we need your help! However when many volunteers and donations converge on one place it is difficult to organize and will make the disaster worse. Please be responsible and help in a way that will truly benefit those whose lives have been impacted by the disaster. By doing the following you will be part of the solution instead of adding to the chaos.

For Volunteers:

1. Affiliate. Join up with existing non-profit organizations before coming to the disaster area. Immediately following a disaster, a community can become easily overwhelmed by the amount of generous people who want to help. Contacting and affiliating with an established organization will help to ensure that you are appropriately trained to respond in the most effective way.

Georgia VOAD is an organization whose mission is to foster communication, cooperation, coordination, and collaboration amongst all voluntary organizations active in a Georgia disaster. If your organization is not a part of Georgia VOAD consider joining.This will help the response to disasters be more efficient.

2. Be safe. Do not self-deploy until a need has been identified and the local community impacted has requested support. Wait until it is safe to travel to disaster sites and for volunteer service opportunities to be identified. Come self-sufficient with food, shelter, personal hygiene, medical needs, and reliable transportation with gas for the return trip. Understand that while volunteering you are not covered by any extra insurance from Federal, State, Local or that homeowners insurance.

Consider joining CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) a great program to prepare your household and neighborhood for emergencies.

3. Be patient and Flexible. Recovery lasts a lot longer than the media attention. There will be volunteer needs for many months after a disaster – from cleaning up debris and tarping roofs to rebuilding homes and lives. Volunteers may be asked to step into a variety of roles depending on current or sudden needs.

For Donations:

1. Monetary Donations: Monetary donations are the most effective method of donating. It offers voluntary agencies the most flexibility in obtaining the most-needed resources and delivers money into the local economy, helping businesses recover. Remember, unsolicited donated goods, such as used clothing, household items, and mixed or perishable foodstuff may not be needed. Receiving agencies often have to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and redistribute items that can’t be used, redirecting valuable resources away from meeting the needs of disaster survivors.

Donate through a trusted organization – Financial contributions to a recognized disaster relief organization are the most effective donation to make.

2. In-kind Donations: The critical items needed to support disaster survivors changes very rapidly. Some items that are needed directly after a disaster are not needed several weeks later. If you would like to organize a disaster relief supplies collection please carefully consider the following:

You must arrange for transportation and a verified place to bring the donations to. Never assume that unsolicited relief supplies will be transported at no charge. Best practice is to build relationships with a reliable source of transportation before the disaster.

Call to obtain a list of items needed BEFORE you start collecting. Items that are needed directly after a disaster are not needed several weeks later.

Ensure that donated items are packed well and clearly labelled. Specific content lists should be taped to the outside of each box sent. Clothing if requested should be new and sorted by gender, size and season.

3. If you need help in determining what to give, or which organization to give to, please go to the National Donations Management Network.

You can make a monetary donation to a disaster response organization. Financial contributions allow relief organizations to purchase the exact items that are needed to quickly assist in response and recovery efforts. Funds also provide direct victim assistance. The disaster relief organizations can be found here:
The State of Georgia Donation Portal

Most impacted states have a donations portal. Click the link provided below to find the donations portal for another states’ donation portal: National Donations Management Network

Other Valuable Links

FEMA Volunteer and Donations Page
Georgia VOAD

National VOAD

American Red Cross

American Red Cross (En Espanol)

Salvation Army