Supporting Ukraine

How to ensure your support is actually doing good in times of crisis.
By Jessica Sloan

From the millions of people in Ukraine fighting for and fleeing for their lives during war, to family members and friends who await word about the safety of their loved ones, to the revoked freedom of speech for Russian citizens standing up for freedom — the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine has no borders.

Coming Together

As a nonprofit organization working with high-growth tech companies to build and run social good programs, RaisedBy.Us (RBU) has witnessed an overwhelming response from our network of employees around the world. In one week, individuals from over a dozen companies pooled together to raise almost $50,000USD in small-dollar donations to support Ukraine relief efforts. And that number continues to grow.

It’s uplifting to see communities coming together to make a real impact during times of devastation. We know how easy it is to feel helpless when facing disaster and we hear over and over again the intense desire to ‘do something.’ Disaster support is complicated; just because an action seems helpful and as a result, feels good, doesn’t always mean that it is genuinely supportive. In fact, in major disaster scenarios, non-monetary giving, like donating products or volunteering time, do little to impact those in need and often complicates humanitarian aid.

Consider the Impact

The single most impactful action you can take as an individual or a company is to make a monetary donation that allows relief organizations to source what they need locally and direct the funds where they are most needed.

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy, an organization that specializes in informed disaster-giving strategy, puts it plainly: “As with most disasters, cash donations are recommended by disaster experts as they allow for on-the-ground agencies to direct funds to the greatest area of need, support economic recovery and ensure donation management does not detract from disaster recovery needs.”

There are many reasons why in-kind donations are not helpful and prevent further aid from being directed to where it’s needed most. From impossible transportation coordination to difficult storage and distribution logistics, companies and concerned individuals in a position of helping are better off directing monetary donations to organizations better suited and more well-equipped to help.

In addition to presenting logistical nightmares, unsolicited in-kind donations can be detrimental for the environment. A frighteningly large amount — nearly 60% — of goods donated during a disaster end up unused in landfills. Additionally, shipping goods internationally is time-consuming and expensive. Costs of shipping are better served as monetary donations that allow relief organizations to source what they need locally and direct the funds where they are needed the most. Before making an in-kind donation, consider these questions to evaluate how effective your canned food, blankets, or used clothing may be.

Many organizations are circulating volunteer opportunities like recording videos of encouragement for refugees or writing letters of support for Ukrainian citizens. While the good intentions behind these activities are clear, consider the impact of these efforts. Who will these activities benefit the most — the giver or the receiver?

The Collective Power of Humanity

In humanitarian crises, we are encouraged to see firsthand the collective power of humanity coming together to do good. At RaisedBy.Us, we’ve seen incredible support from our network, a community of employees at high-growth tech companies who want to give back in any way they can. Our network is mostly Gen Z and Millennials, many of whom are first-time or small-dollar donors, but together, they’ve already contributed a significant sum. That is the power of collective impact — every single dollar not only counts but adds up.

In times of devastation, we know people are looking for ways to help. Monetary donations are the most effective ways to show support. Small-dollar donations, company-level giving and dollar-for-dollar matching, and the desire to effect sustainable change are how we’ve seen RBU companies and their employees step up and make a real difference. Join our collective impact today: https://bit.ly/RBUsupportsUkraine

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