Wise Giving Wednesday: Growing Needs of Ukrainian Refugees

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calendar icon Mar 23, 2022

As the war in Ukraine continues to unfold, resulting in more damage and destruction to major cities, a growing number of Ukrainians are leaving to neighboring countries. So far, media and relief charities are estimating that over 3.5 million have sought refuge with more than half of them fleeing to Poland. That refugee total represents about eight percent of the total 44 million Ukraine population and is expected to increase in the coming weeks and months as hostilities continue. International relief organizations are facing challenges on many different fronts, but many fall into two basic categories: addressing emergency needs for those near war-torn areas of Ukraine by providing access to shelter, food and medical care and assisting those Ukrainians who now reside across Ukraine’s borders.

As noted in the New York Times (Chodosh, Sara et al. “A Historic Exodus From Ukraine,” New York Times, March 17, 2022, Opinion Page) many of the initial refugees had either relatives or friends in other countries, but that will probably not be the case for most of those leaving Ukraine in the coming weeks. They will not only need immediate help for food, shelter, and medical care, but will develop longer term needs such as employment, temporary housing, care for older people and education for children, among other things. This will place strains on available public services in other countries. In turn, relief charities may face resource challenges when donations begin to drop when the war is no longer the top story in the headlines.

Over the years, BBB Wise Giving Alliance has seen three phases of charity relief activity taking place in the wake of natural disasters. In many ways, these same principles can be applied to the war in Ukraine. First, there is a Rescue Phase where charities seek to provide immediate assistance to help save lives and address emergency needs. That phase is still occurring inside Ukraine itself for those in war ravaged areas. As reported by ABC news, the U.N. indicates that over 6.5 million people have been displaced inside Ukraine. Next, is the Relief Phase which seeks to provide shelter, clothing, food, and other essential necessities. As described earlier, this is already taking place in the neighboring counties that are hosting refugees. The third component is the Recovery Phase that involves rebuilding homes, schools, hospitals and repairing roads. This final phase will take time to complete and will require large sums of money. But this final phase cannot start in this circumstance, until the war is over.

For current and future donors, there will be many opportunities to help Ukrainians in need. We will continue to monitor the situation to help you make wise giving decisions along the way.

Video of the Week

As part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to revisit a previous video that features an interview with Jim Stofan, Senior Vice President, Operations, Defenders of Wildlife (a BBB Accredited Charity.) Defenders of Wildlife works to protect and restore imperiled species throughout North America by transforming policies and institutions and promoting solutions. Defenders promotes the conservation and restoration of North America’s vulnerable species through habitat preservation and restoration on public lands, secures greater wildlife conservation funding, and defends and strengthens wildlife and public land management laws and policies.

Heart of Giving Podcast

In this week's Heart of Giving Podcast, BBB WGA President & CEO, Art Taylor, interviews Lauren Lawson-Zilai, External Communications Executive for Goodwill Industries International. This podcast covers the importance of communication in the charity space and discusses Lauren's career where she utilizes marketing and communications to drive social change and impact and elevate the brand awareness of mission-driven nonprofit organizations. 

Recent Reports

We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:

Finally, remember to let us know by going to give.org/charity-inquiry if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.

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