FEMA Fact Sheet: Donate and Volunteer Wisely
Austin Joint Field Office
Donate and Volunteer Wisely
The overwhelming generosity of the public in the wake of Hurricane Harvey is helping affected communities to start healing from the consequences of this disaster.
However, the amount of donated items now exceeds the needs of the impacted communities, and supporting agencies are having to redirect manpower away from providing direct services needed by survivors to managing donated goods that may not meet survivors’ needs.
Therefore, the State of Texas is asking that you please DO NOT donate unsolicited goods at this time. This will support improved coordination with experienced disaster relief organizations and state/local emergency management offices so those in need quickly receive the right help.
Easiest way to help
The most effective way to support disaster survivors’ recovery is to make tax-deductible cash donations to trusted voluntary-, faith- and community-based charitable organizations. This gives them the ability to purchase, or provide vouchers for, what survivors actually need.
In addition, when these organizations or survivors purchase goods or services locally, they pump money back into the local economy, helping businesses recover faster.
A leading example is the collaboration between the Michael & Susan Dell and OneStar foundations to form the Rebuild Texas Fund. The Dells are leading the charge to raise $100 million for the fund. Those wishing to donate can do so by visiting www.rebuildtx.org or by texting ‘rebuildtx’ to 91999.
Donate through a trusted organization
Both the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) and the Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (TXVOAD) list trusted organizations receiving donations.
The NVOAD website has information on non-profit organizations accepting or registering individual in-kind donations here. For corporate donations see here. The TXVOAD website has a list of more than 36 vetted disaster relief organizations providing services to survivors.
You may also make a financial donation to a Texas VOAD Member or a National VOAD Member to help voluntary or charitable organizations continue to provide services to those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Register before volunteering
Although floodwaters are receding, the situation is still not conducive for spontaneous or unaffiliated volunteers who self-deploy to impacted areas since they may create additional burdens on communities where resources for food and shelter are scarce.
The State of Texas is asking potential volunteers to register with a voluntary or charitable organization of their choice.
To register as an affiliated volunteer with a voluntary or charitable organization, visit the National VOAD or Texas VOAD for a list of partners active in disaster. Alternatively, you may register your interest to volunteer here for partner organizations to reach out to you
Most importantly, please be patient. Hurricane Harvey recovery will require volunteer engagement for many months and years to come, so sign up now. Continue monitoring traditional and social media channels, including www.volunteertx.org for the latest information.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-3362 (voice, 711/VRS - Video Relay Service) (TTY: 800-462-7585). Multilingual operators are available (press 2 for Spanish).