In the haste to do “something” I also wanted to make sure that I took the time to respond thoughtfully and make sure the money raised from the t-shirts would have the most impact.
So first, I looked up the charities I was seeing in the news on Charity Navigator. If you're not familiar with the site, it's a super helpful tool to use when evaluating the trustworthiness of a charity. To make our lives easier as donors, Charity Navigator's team of professional analysts examine tens of thousands of non-profit financial documents to develop an unbiased, objective, numbers-based rating system to assess over 8,000 charities. Specifically, their rating system examines the two main factors that indicate of a charity's performance; their financial health and their accountability & transparency.
During my research, I also stumbled across the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors' Philanthropy Roadmap Giving Strategically After Disaster. The philanthropic roadmap offers some great insight to disaster relief and helped me define what types of charities I wanted to support.
The roadmap points out that communities recover from disasters over many years and yet crisis philanthropy often focuses only on the short term. “More than one-third of private giving is typically done within the first four weeks of a rapid-onset disaster, and close to two-thirds within the first two months,” according to a 2011 report by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. “Within five or six months, almost all of this giving stops.”
According to the guide, an effective approach to this problem is to split funding — initially supporting short term relief efforts and then moving into long term efforts as communities start planning and rebuilding. Explaining that funding "these later efforts can make a huge difference."
So armed with the ratings from Charity Navigator and the advice from the philanthropy roadmap — I selected four charities to benefit from my t-shirt fundraiser. So here's my picks along with a little bit about why I chose them...
Houston Food Bank
Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund
Charity Navigator: Not Rated
The other 50% of the proceeds from the "Come Hell or High Water" tee benefit the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund — started by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and County Judge Ed Emmett. The fund is being housed at the Greater Houston Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity who has a long history of supporting and administering disaster philanthropy. The fund is designed to support relief as well as reconstruction efforts including shelter, temporary housing, healthcare, transportation and child care.
100% of the proceeds from the "Together We Weather the Storm" t-shirts and stickers benefit Global Giving's Caribbean Hurricane Maria & Irma Relief Fund. All donations to this funds will support hurricane recovery and relief efforts in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Initially, the fund will help first responders meet survivors' immediate needs for food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter. Once initial relief work is complete, this fund will transition to support longer-term recovery efforts run by local, vetted organizations responding to this disaster.
📷 Hector Retamal / AFP - Getty Images
So there you have it. The three charities benefiting from my designs. So if you're looking for a way to help, please consider buying a t-shirt and donating 100% of the profits to help with relief efforts. And of course you can always donate to these awesome charities directly online, but then you don't get an awesome shirt.