Before we get to the point of this post, let's get to the real point:
If you and your friends, and their friends, and everyone's families haven't yet given to Haitian disaster relief, stop reading this and do it now.
Then, mark on your calendar to do it again in a month and again six months from now. Go. Now.
OK, you're back. Think back about what you just did or, if you had already given before you opened this post, what you did when you gave. If you're like many people, you just decided, "I'll give to X Charity." Then, you went online, pulled out your credit card and donated. Good for you.
If you're like many others, (including my wife and I) you were unsure which relief agency to support. Which organization will provide the most needed help right now? So, you may well have gone online, looked at different relief groups' websites, even checked them out on Guidestar.
But when all was said and done, you went back online, pulled out your credit card and donated. Again, good for you.
My point? You gave online. You wanted to help, help now, and a check in the mail just didn't cut it.
The data so far support this feeling: as of Friday, according to National Public Radio, over 80% of funds donated to the top 10 international relief organizations had come online. To be sure, a lot of paper checks are still in the mail and haven't been counted, but that percentage is still impressive.
There are two lessons for nonprofits from all this:
First, make sure your organization can accept donations easily online.
Second, a week ago, many nonprofit staff were bemoaning their situation vis a vis the economy. The pictures and stories from Haiti put that in a bit of perspective for all of us.