What to Donate and How to Know Where Your Donations are Going

If you’re donating to a local shelter or church, you can almost be sure that your donations are going to the causes you want them to. If you are donating to a larger charity, you might not know exactly where the money is going.

Donating to a Small Local Shelter or Church

Small local shelters usually don’t pop-up until right before or during a natural disaster so they are typically not well prepared. Don’t let this steer you away from helping local shelters, but keep in mind that they will need different things than the larger charities will.

These local shelters are more likely to accept your lightly used items as well as new items.

Local shelters usually need:

  • Volunteers
  • Cots
  • Air mattresses
  • Bedding
  • Clothing
  • Hygiene Items
  • Food
  • Toys
If you know of a local charity in need, please post the charity name, address and what they need in the comments.

Large Charities

Larger charities are typically more prepared and keep items stocked up and ready for disasters at all times.

Some larger charities will refuse donations of goods and food, especially during or right after a natural disaster. This is because those items take time, space and people to be sorted. This is why larger charities typically prefer monetary donations. Larger charities also prepare ahead of time and can get items in bulk for a much lower price than you can by purchasing them from a retailer.

There are many rumors going around about a lot of the larger charities. Some are true, some are false and some are somewhere in between.

Below are links to three websites where you can make sure the charity you are donating to is legitimate. You can also see how much of your donation will go to people in need and how much goes to overhead to run the charity.


You should also consider reading this FEMA Hurricane Harvey Rumor Control Page. 

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