Giving Mindfully in Tragedy
The world watched in horror of a mass explosion at Beirut’s port resulting in hundreds of lives lost, hurt and missing. As we gain more information following the devastation, we are learning that the havoc has not reached its peak. With flour mills that supply the country with its bread and food and medical supplies at the port destroyed, Lebanon has yet to experience the lasting impact of the explosion. History has always shown that the most marginalized and underprivileged will often feel the brunt of tragedy, receiving the last of the survival necessities.
Having lived in Lebanon, the country holds a special place in my heart. It is in Beirut that I learned the scale and complexity of giving and thus, the importance of giving mindfully.
Here are a few things to consider to be mindful and impactful in giving during tragic times:
Firstly, is there a particular group of people or a particular cause or subject that appeals to you the most?
There is no wrong answer. You may not know, and would just like to give and allow the organization to distribute as needed. Or you may be interested in helping specifically those directly impacted by the blast, seniors, people with disabilities, refugees, underprivileged children, rural women or any segment of society. These individuals may not have been directly impacted by the explosion, but certainly they will experience its economic aftermath. Smaller nonprofit organizations work with specific groups that can channel your resources directly to those you feel more attuned to helping. Some larger organizations work with the smaller organizations to ensure accountability and provide the necessary assistance.
There are pros and cons to giving to small vs. larger organizations. Smaller organizations have less bureaucracy and can work quickly on the ground to get direct access to specific beneficiaries. Larger organizations have a little more bureaucracy, but have a larger network to reach more people.
Often, smaller organizations do not have capacity to report in detail on where the funding went and are not audited by a third party to verify their funding streams. Larger organizations with larger funding streams can afford third party verification or accreditation from multilateral organizations such as the United Nations.
When choosing smaller organizations, I often select those who have some sort of past reporting, as well as those run by reputable people. If in existence, reports can be easily found on organizational websites.
Like when making financial investments, giving is a personal choice with many aspects to consider. The important thing is to make a decision with the intention to generate a greater return on impact from your contribution.
Below are a list of places to donate. They have not been verified on its reporting or reputation by MLW. Lebanon is known for having one of the most registered nonprofits per capita. If you have a recommendation on where to donate, please share in the comments below.
Here is a crowd-sourced list of Lebanon’s nonprofits: https://lebanoncrisis.carrd.co/#donate