Photo of a blonde Ukrainian girl around seven years old.
Young Ukrainian girl in traditional garb; photo by Taranukhin Alex, via stock.adobe.com

Pair generosity with caution when considering aid efforts for Ukraine

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine has begun, concerns grow about current and potential emergency needs of the Ukraine people. Generous donors want to help by supporting charities that are raising funds for assistance.

Because disasters create opportunities for fraudulent “charity” schemes, however, prospective donors should be wary of questionable appeals and keep the following tips from the Better Business Bureau in mind for donors in mind.

  • Can the charity get to the impacted area? Not all relief organizations will be positioned to provide relief quickly. See if the charity already has a presence in Ukraine.
  • Should you send clothing and food? Local drives to collect clothing and food to send overseas may not be practical as the logistics and timing to deliver and disperse such items will be challenging. Relief organizations are better equipped to obtain what is needed, distribute it effectively and avoid duplication of effort.
  • Does the relief charity meet BBB Charity Standards?  You can verify a charity’s trustworthiness by viewing an evaluative report completed by BBB Wise Giving Alliance.  See the list provided below of charities that that are soliciting for relief assistance for Ukraine and that also meet the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.
  • Is the charity experienced in providing emergency relief? Experienced disaster relief charities are the best bet to help deliver aid as soon as possible. New entrants may have difficulty in following through even if they have the best of intentions.
  • Are you considering crowdfunding appeals? If engaging in crowdfunding, it is safest to give to someone you personally know and trust, and review the platform’s policies regarding fees and distribution of collected funds. If the crowdfunding request is from a charity, check out the group by visiting Give.org. Keep in mind that some crowdfunding sites do very little vetting of individuals or organizations that decide to post for relief assistance. Sites that take security measures will usually provide descriptions of these procedures.
  • Does the appeal make exaggerated financial claims such as “100% will be spent on relief.” Charities have fundraising and administrative expenses. Any charity claiming otherwise is potentially misleading the donating public. Even a credit card donation will have a processing fee.

The following nationally-soliciting charities are BBB Accredited (i.e., they meet the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability).  Their respective websites indicate that they are either currently raising funds for assistance efforts in Ukraine or preparing for needs that could arise if conflict results in population displacement.

Catholic Relief Services  BBB Wise Giving Alliance Report  Ukraine Relief Activities

Direct Relief  BBB Wise Giving Alliance Report  Ukraine Relief Activities

GlobalGiving  BBB Wise Giving Alliance Report  Ukraine Relief Activities

International Rescue Committee  BBB Wise Giving Alliance Report  Ukraine Relief Activities

Save the Children  BBB Wise Giving Alliance Report   Ukraine Relief Activities


Below is an extended list, compiled by Valarie Kaur, of nonprofits and charitable foundations with a history of success and transparent reporting. 

Download a browser extension to translate foreign language websites into your preferred language. Follow the link here.

Medical support

  • RAZOM: Emergency Response – for tactical medical training. Help qualified war medics teach civilians first aid and provide them with medical supplies.
  • United Help Ukraine –  for provision of life-saving individual first aid kits (IFAKs containing blood-stopping bandages and tourniquets) and other emergency medical supplies to the front.
  • Sunflower of Peace – for medical assistance and other necessities. Each IFAK (medical backpack) can save up to 10 lives.
  • Lifeline Ukraine – for psychosocial support. Ukraine’s first suicide prevention hotline mobilized in response to alarming rates of veteran suicide.

Veterans and internally displaced persons

  • People in Need: SOS Ukraine – for provision of food and sanitation packages, emergency shelter, psychosocial support, and more in Donetsk and Luhansk, both in territory under the control of the Ukrainian government and in territory not currently under government control.
  • UN Crisis Relief: Ukrainian Humanitarian Fund – contributions are collected into a single, unearmarked fund and managed locally under UN leadership. As crises evolve, funds are made directly and immediately available to a wide range of partner organizations at the front lines of response. This way, funding reaches the people most in need when they need it.
  • Revived Soldiers Ukraine – for provision of medical aid and sustainable living standards to wounded soldiers and members of their families.  
  • Ukrainian People With Disabilities in Crisis – helps Ukrainians with disabilities – especially those who want but cannot evacuate – protect themselves in case of emergency. 
  • Caritas Ukraine – provision of humanitarian assistance to various social groups and those impacted by the conflict. More information here.
  • Ukrainian LGBT Military for Equal Rights Association – support LGBT military in their fight on the frontline and for equality of all citizens at home. 
  • CrimeaSOS – assistance to internally displaced persons from Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. With the support and partnership of UNHCR, it promotes community initiatives for these groups.
  • British-Ukraine Aid – assistance to vulnerable individuals who have been physically, mentally or socially disadvantaged, including the injured and wounded, orphaned children, the elderly, internally displaced persons and families who have lost their main earners. More information here.

English-language media

Children

  • Voices of Children – psychological/psychosocial support for children affected by the war.
  • Save the Children – Ukraine – distribute essential humanitarian aid to children and their families; deliver winter and hygiene kits; provide cash grants to families so they can meet basic needs like food, rent and medicines; provide access to safe, inclusive, quality education; work to help children overcome the mental and psychological impacts of conflict.
  • Saint Javelin – all proceeds of shirt and sticker sales go to a fund for the children of fallen and wounded Ukrainian soldiers. 
  • Toy Drive for the Children of Fallen Heroes – provides assistance for displaced people, orphans, and families of Ukrainian military who died or were hurt in action. Volunteers in Ukraine learn about needs on the ground and pass information on to us.

Education

  • Ukrainian Leadership Academy – an educational program that aims to develop a generation of young leaders for Ukraine and the world. Over the course of a gap year, young adults learn to work in a team, set goals, develop projects, take responsibility for their lives and the country’s fate, and choose their future profession more consciously.
  • Ukrainian Catholic University Foundation –  invest in the lives of young and talented future leaders of Ukraine and the diaspora.
  • Veteranius – help teach and employ veterans, volunteers and internally displaced persons in the IT sector and involve them in socially important projects. 

Bohdan Radchenko Stipend for Veterans – tuition for a Master’s at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (KMA), Kyiv School of Economics (KSE), Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU).

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