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Haiti Earthquake Relief – How You Can Help!

Written by Kathryn and FT – MDJ is matching contributions, more info below.

For those wanting to donate to the earthquake relief in Haiti, it can be difficult to know where to give. As trusted financial writers we thought it would be best to share with you where we’re giving and why. The choice to give is up to you.

Recently Kathryn wrote about charitable donations and deciding where to give. Be sure to check in there if you’re thinking about donating somewhere.

Here are some suggestions for getting relief to Haiti

If you’re going to give, give today.

Don’t put it off. The immediate need is huge. It takes some time for the funds to go through. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the choices of where to give and put off giving altogether.

Be wary of unknown organizations.

It’s best if you have a personal connection with someone on the ground in Haiti. If not, try and find someone who knows someone who has worked there. There are some amazing relief organizations but there are also scams.

Be sure you get a charitable receipt

Now is not the time to be thinking about tax savings. The reason you need a charitable receipt is because it means the organization is financially accountable to the Canada Revenue Agency.

Give to an organization that is already working in Haiti

For the funds to get where they are needed quickly, it’s best if the organization already has some sort of infrastructure on the ground already.

Give to a ‘relief’ organization

There are some great charities out there. As you know both Kathryn and Frugal Trader sponsor a child through Compassion Canada. The main work of Compassion is social services and literacy and education training. Only 1% goes to medical services. It’s a fantastic organization but it’s purpose is not relief work. On the other hand ninety percent of Doctors Without Border’s funds go to disaster and medical services.

Kathryn and family are sending their donation to Doctors Without Borders. We are confident in the work of the organization. We have connections with people on the ground there. Doctors Without Borders has an infrastructure on the ground already. They are a registered Canadian charity that focuses specifically on relief and medical work. They have a good track record and their salaries, assets and revenue are all within reasonable limits.

Million Dollar Journey Matching Contributions

To promote donations to support relief, MDJ will match reader contributions up to a total of $500.  When we reach the $500 limit, we’ll donate the proceeds to Doctors Without Borders.

Update:  As of 1:20 pm (NL time) we have well surpassed the $500 mark.  We’ll be making our $500 donation today!  Remember that the Federal Government is matching contributions up to $50 million so your donation will go a long way.

If you would like to read more articles like this, you can sign up for my free weekly money tips newsletter below (we will never spam you).

Avatar About the author: Kathryn has been a staff writer for MDJ since January 2009. During the day she works in an office. In her off hours, she volunteers as a financial coach helping ordinary Canadians with the basics of money management. Kathryn, along with her husband and two children live in Ontario.

{ 42 comments… add one }
  • FT FrugalTrader January 15, 2010, 9:35 am

    The federal government said it would match any donations made to registered charitable groups for the Haitian disaster from Jan. 12 to Feb. 12, up to a maximum of $50 million.” quoted from

    So the $500 match from MDJ will go up to $2000 total donation to Haiti relief (including reader donations)!

  • Avatar This is why I signed up with ING Direct January 15, 2010, 10:56 am

    Really cool!! I personally donated 100 $ already.

    If you have a cell phone you can text “HAITI” to 90999 to donate $10 to the American Red Cross relief in Haiti.

    Beware of scammers trying to make money; make sure you donate to the right organisation.

  • Avatar Lyne January 15, 2010, 11:05 am

    Nice! Sent you my receipt!

  • Avatar 2 Cents January 15, 2010, 11:08 am

    The Canadian Red Cross and Unicef Canada are a couple of other really big names that people can safely consider. I think it’s great that you guys are using your platform to lend a hand!

  • Avatar Four Pillars January 15, 2010, 11:10 am

    Good stuff – I wrote about this today as well. I’ll add your link when I get the chance.

  • Avatar Brian January 15, 2010, 12:08 pm

    Glad to see us rally behind this very important relief effort. Thanks to MJD for matching readers contributions, they need all the help we can give!

  • Avatar JC NewGrad January 15, 2010, 12:19 pm

    It’s so great you’re doing this! I’ve sent my receipt!

  • Avatar high octane January 15, 2010, 12:28 pm

    The federal government is matching Cdn donations towards the disaster up to $50 Million


    Our disaster response team deployed Weds and 2 naval ships left yesterday. The transport aircraft are making all the trips they can

    My unit is preparing to deploy even though we are already stretched to the limit with Olympic security

    The military is doing everything we can but it is the donations that provide the supplies we need to be effective

  • Avatar DAvid January 15, 2010, 12:45 pm

    You have mail.

  • Avatar Steve Zussino January 15, 2010, 12:52 pm

    This is great news!

  • Avatar Canadian Capitalist January 15, 2010, 1:14 pm

    We picked MSF as our charity as well. It’s heartbreaking to see the devastation in Haiti.

  • Avatar Kathryn January 15, 2010, 1:20 pm

    To clarify any confusion, MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières) is the same organization as Doctors Without Borders.

  • Avatar Asher January 15, 2010, 1:25 pm

    Just a personal story regarding Haiti – I have been to Haiti several times over the past 2 years doing mission work.

    Many of the people I work with live in Port-Au-Prince – of those that I know, all are alive although several of their homes are completely destroyed and one young boy’s hand is mangled – he received medical attention, which we can be thankful for.

    Several of their friends and families were not as fortunate however.

    FT – I made a $1,000 contribution to the charity I have done my trips through. However, I wont’ get a receipt until the end of the year – will a copy of the cheque suffice?

  • Avatar Elbyron January 15, 2010, 1:37 pm

    I agree that it’s important to get the funds there quickly, and the best way is to donate to an organization that is already established there. I’m sure Doctors Without Borders has been doing work there already, but there is another organization called Partners in Health that was founded in 1987 to deliver health care specifically to the poorest parts of Haiti. Since then, PIH has expanded to 9 locations in Haiti and 9 other countries. So if you want your donation to go to provide health care for the earthquake victims in Haiti rather than general international disaster relief, consider this worthwhile charity.

  • Avatar JC NewGrad January 15, 2010, 1:41 pm

    just a reminder — since we’re on the topic of matching:

    for those who are sending receipts to MDJ, also remember to check to see if your employer has any sort of matching program!

    mine does: so with them matching, MDJ matching and the government matching my contribution and MDJ’s, your dollar really goes a long way!

  • Avatar Four Pillars January 15, 2010, 1:44 pm

    Ok, we upped our donation to $500. $250 for Red Cross and $250 for Doctors Without Borders.

    No way am I going to be outdonated by a fellow blogger! :)

    MDJ – you might as well make that donation now – you’re going to end up with about $100k in donation receipts anyway. :)

  • Avatar Laura January 15, 2010, 2:07 pm

    MDJ, so great that you’re doing this. I send you my email, although you’ve probably already received enough donation receipts!

  • Avatar Laura January 15, 2010, 2:07 pm

    MDJ, so great that you’re doing this. I sent you my receipt, although you’ve probably already received enough donation receipts!

  • Avatar nobleea January 15, 2010, 2:07 pm

    That’s very generous of you!

    I have two friends from elementary school who work in Haiti. One works for Stantec and married a local, the other works for the Feds and brought her husband down. They don’t live in Port au prince, so they didn’t experience much aside from no telephone and a broken tv.

    I’ve been pleased with our gov’ts reaction to the crisis.

  • FT FrugalTrader January 15, 2010, 2:22 pm

    The amount of support has been overwhelming, we have already crossed the $500 mark and will be making our contribution $500 donation this evening.

    Thanks again guys!

  • Avatar NIck January 15, 2010, 4:51 pm

    Tens of thousands of people are fighting to stay alive. I’m going home to eat dinner and watch a movie…. The least I can do is donate to support the efforts.

    If you haven’t yet donated, please do.

  • Avatar Shelly January 15, 2010, 5:26 pm

    I just tried to donate to MSF but there was an error…I think the site’s getting overloaded. I’ll try again later!

  • Avatar directpaydaylender January 15, 2010, 6:33 pm

    Wishing Haiti a fast recovery with much peace and hope to them. Makes me feel very lucky that we are safe and in a much better situation.

  • Avatar ldk January 15, 2010, 7:41 pm

    We donated online through the Red Cross using a credit card–quick and easy and the tax receipt will be sent to me through email.

    Kudos to you and your fellow financial bloggers for the work you are doing to encourage people to contribute to the relief effort.

    We are all very fortunate indeed.

  • Avatar Stephen January 15, 2010, 8:20 pm

    I don’t know about other organizations, but UNICEF Canada emails you your tax receipt immediately if you give online.


  • Avatar DMac January 15, 2010, 8:49 pm

    It’s great to see the support for Haiti. I teach at a high school and the support and donations and energy toward this are incredible. It’s nice to log on and see you setting an example.

    I lived in Haiti for 2 years. The country has no infrastructure, no means to help itself. It’s up to us, the rest of the world, to help them.

  • Avatar Ms Save Money January 15, 2010, 9:09 pm

    I love how giving to charity is soo easy these days – just text and I’m done! :)

  • Avatar Kathryn January 15, 2010, 9:55 pm

    Fantastic response. Way to go MDJ readers!

  • Avatar natalie January 16, 2010, 12:16 am

    We sponsor a child through World Vision who lives in Haiti. So we donated through them since they are already there on the ground. I have no idea when I will be able to find out if our foster son is okay.
    Kudos to you MDJ for matching donations and for everyone for their outpouring of support.

  • Avatar TermMonster Term Life Insurance January 16, 2010, 4:28 am

    This is a really good example of how someone, MDJ can set the standard of goodwill in today’s blog world. Kudos to you guys. We’d like to do more charitable and various cause (breast cancer, birth defects) work and develop a way to contribute $ from our financial business back to where people need it most. Thanks for providing some inspiration today.


  • Avatar used tires January 16, 2010, 7:30 am

    It’s really great to see people steeping up to help others in tough times, more people need to do that! I am definitely thinking about it.

    Till then,


  • Avatar Pastor Jim Kibler January 16, 2010, 11:02 am

    We need to help but money sent down there will not get to the people. America has given 3 billion dollars to Haiti in the last few years and it has not been used for the people. I would say pay the way for people who have a skill that would be helpful, such as doctors to go down.

  • Avatar Financial Cents January 16, 2010, 12:02 pm

    Great post.

    It’s not necessarily important how much you give, but that YOU DO GIVE

    Every Canadian should give whatever amount they feel comfortable in giving, whether it be a $5 text message or $1,000 to Doctors without Borders, UNICEF, CRC or another charity.

    My thoughts go to those sufferring in Haiti.

  • Avatar Lior January 16, 2010, 6:34 pm

    I contributed $100 split between UNICEF and MSF. I hope more people would donate given that food and medical care would be paramount in saving people’s lives.

  • Avatar PD January 16, 2010, 7:08 pm

    Thanks for all the insight. I was debating which charity to go through.

  • Avatar cashback cards January 16, 2010, 9:07 pm

    Wow, what a great offer…just wondering how are you tracking this though I am sort of confused? But, I greatly appreciate you stepping up and willing to match.

  • Avatar Gerry January 17, 2010, 12:50 pm

    Many rewards programs are setting up for Haitian donations through organizations like World Vision and the Red Cross. I cleaned out most of my hotel stay points today. If I’d taken the actual rewards, I could have had a certificate for a few night’s stay in a crummy hotel, mid-week. Instead, the rewards became a US$60 donation. I’m not sure I’ll get a tax receipt, but honestly, I can spare it.

  • Avatar Patrick January 17, 2010, 2:47 pm

    The website http://www.canadahelps.org provides “one-stop shopping” for anyone wanting to donate to Canadian charites working on the ground in Haiti. It lists only legitimate charities registered with the Canada Revenue Agency so acts as a screen against scammers. As an added bonus, it will also issue you with an instant tax receipt on behalf of the charity you support resulting in more resources allocate to relief and less to paperwork.

  • Avatar Baden January 18, 2010, 3:30 pm

    Another fan of Partners In Health here!
    Compare info on charities at charitynavigator.org

  • Avatar Baden January 18, 2010, 4:07 pm

    Just wanted to add to my previous comment:

    Awesome book about Partners In Health is Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder.

    The org has a huge focus on social justice/prevention as well as on
    health recovery and poverty relief.

    It pays a lot of attention to maximizing resources, including in
    recognition of the psycho-social factors that play in to a community’s
    movement toward recovery.

    One really cool example of what PIH does with funding: When they’d
    received a swack of funding for TB drugs, instead of simply paying the
    going rate, they used the opportunity to bring the price of the drugs
    down, allowing them to access far more (help more people) with the
    existing funding, as well as to make the drugs more accessible long
    term for other orgs.

  • Avatar cannon_fodder January 19, 2010, 1:33 am

    I’m glad to hear World Vision is on the ground. That is who we donate to you annually.

    Also thanks for the mention about companies matching. I’ve sent off an email to our HR department. Hopefully they can be “shamed” into joining the cause!

  • Avatar Vivek January 19, 2010, 5:50 am

    If you donate through the Amway online store, they match your donation. With the Canadian Government’s contribution, that’s TRIPLE your giving.

    DO IT.


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