The Short Version
There are several ways to help. Please consider helping student volunteers complete the very important job of rapidly assessing damaged homes.
You can donate money to organizations already involved in earthquake relief and recovery efforts. (Please remember that we make a good faith effort to verify the information, but you should of course use your own common sense). You can fundraise as an individual or as a group. For online volunteering, there are various venues such as the Youth Opportunities. If you are not in Nepal already, we don’t suggest that you go unless it is essential for what you want to do. Click here to learn why.
Sending money is recommended over sending stuff. Even if you send items listed under emergency kits, such as medicines and dry foods, it is complicated to get the materials into the country and through customs in an already overtaxed airport in Nepal. This is why.
Decide how much you can give and divide it into two sums: one for short-term relief and the other for long-term recovery. Although immediate relief is needed, there needs to be a continuous and long-term effort. Think about whether you want to support an international or local organization; an organization focused on a certain district or the whole country; and/or organizations with a long history of work in Nepal and with previous experience in disaster relief or rebuilding. You can use this link to learn more about these organizations: just use the sort function on the spreadsheet. This site also provides a ranking of donors (nepalquake.org does not endorse either the ranking or the fund – you should do your own research). We are working on presenting this information with an easier interface. Below we have provided examples of few organizations working on short-term relief based on the reports from the ground.
For short term efforts, you can donate to:
(a) an international organization with long history of disaster management in the country and wide network like Red Cross, Doctors without Borders. However, these organizations have large overhead and may not continue to work in the long term.
(b) Smaller non-governmental and grassroots organizations who are not as well known internationally BUT your money might be more targeted (such as for building toilets), and might reach faster. Examples are the American Nepal Medical Foundation; Bibeksheel nepali, Help Nepal Network.
America Nepal Medical Foundation: Bijay and his team have developed a facility needs assessment and are sending supplies to hospitals in and out of Kathmandu, and coordinating physicians. They have established a supply chain between India and Nepal that they are using to transfer medical supplies and tents. Colleagues from the Harvard Medical School and MIT are closely involved with these efforts.
Help Nepal Network: Works across health and education and has an active network across all 75 districts in Nepal. Their efforts for disaster relief will form part of their larger goal of strengthening the health and education sectors in Nepal.
Bibeksheel Nepali: A grassroots organization working with volunteers in Nepal to provide medical and relief materials within Kathmandu and affected districts. Donate through link to SEBS donation page and choose Bibeksheel Nepali as recipients.
(c) Personal connections: You can send money directly to people you know in affected areas. At this point, money transfers like Western Union are more efficient than bank transfers. Western Union has waived fee.
(d) Individual crowdsourced fundraisers: Although these campaigns are set up with good intentions, be aware of issues such as the high platform fees, credit card fees. This is the portion of your money that does not go to Nepal, but is charged by the organization transferring your money. Crowdfunding sites in particular often charge a fairly large fee. Also check the credibility of the fundraisers and inquire about the recipients and accountability of these funds. Here are the list of the individual fundraisers under the “Individual Campaigns” tab.
- Long-term efforts
It is important to pay attention to these issues when deciding to donate to either governmental, international or grassroots / local organizations.
Anatomy of disaster response:
While the first instinct among everyone abroad and far away is to help, there is often a pattern in how the government and international community together respond to a disaster. Understanding the anatomy of disaster response will prepare us to think about the long-term recovery and how we can contribute next. Click here to read more.
Recommendations from a disaster response specialist:
While we are eager to help at this moment, everyone is focused on the earthquake at the moment, but only some of us will care about it in a week’s time and stay tuned in the months and even years to come. Here are some recommendations from a disaster response specialist who has been involved in disaster response in multiple contexts to Nepalis who want to think about long-term recovery. Click here to read more.
The primary way to support government efforts is to donate to the Prime Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund, which is allocated by a committee consisting of senior bureaucrats in the Government of Nepal under the Vice Chairman of the National Planning Commission wherever it is required. The Prime Minister does not have discretion over it.
(*) If you know of an organization we didn’t include, please fill out this form. The list is based on another list that was circulated, but whose authors we could not get in touch with.
There has been independent efforts to fund-raise either by crowdsourcing or working with groups (e.g. student groups). Please consider these issues before deciding on starting fundraising campaign. We will be updating information on this so please keep on checking for information.
- Individuals raising funds can be taxed heavily
- Crowdsource platforms will charge a heavy fee in addition to the 3% processing fee
- Transferring money to be Nepal is a complicated process.
- You need to be careful of the Patriot Act because you cannot transfer more than $10,000.
- The best way is to have connection to a 501(3)(c) NGO which works in U.S. with a sister organization already working in Nepal.
- Even for a NGO, there is a limit on the amount of money you can spend based on earlier budget and have to apply for a IRS waiver for sending money.
- Nepal has its own hard currency import rules. Different banks have different limits of how much you can accept and transfer. This needs to be taken into account as well.