Nepal Earthquake Relief: How to Help and What You Need to Know

Image Credit: United Nations Development Programme


Last weekend, Nepal faced one of the most devastating natural disasters in recent years: a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the center of the country near the capital of Kathmandu. At the time of this writing over 5000 people have lost their lives, more than 11,000 people have been injured and 8 million people have been affected, over a quarter of the population. Aftershocks are still causing new damage four days after the massive earthquake. 

Earlier this week the Better Business Bureau released a list of charities and relief organizations that meet all 20 BBB Charity Standards and indicate that they are collecting contributions to assist Nepal relief efforts. We want to help share this list with the world so that help and disaster relief successfully reaches those in need in Nepal and the surrounding region affected by this tragedy.

If you've been considering a donation, now's the time. Aid received within the first few weeks can save the lives of hundreds, maybe thousands of people, but only if it gets there. By giving to one or more of the charities below you can be assured your donation is going where it's needed and where it will do the most good. 

The following list and tips for giving are directly from the Better Business Bureau's website.  


Across the world, relief and development organizations and governments have begun responding to the earthquake in Nepal.  American charities have also begun accepting donations to assist in the region.  Before you choose a charity to give to, take a look at our tips for giving to this type of cause (below) and remember to check out the charity on

BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers donors these tips for disaster relief giving:

Be cautious when giving online.

Be cautious about spam messages and emails that claim to link to a relief organization. If you want to give to a charity involved in relief efforts, go directly to the charity’s website.  In response to Katrina and Haiti earthquake , the FBI and others raised concerns about websites and new organizations that were created overnight, allegedly to help victims.

Rely on expert opinion when it comes to evaluating a charity.

Be cautious when relying on third-party recommendations such as bloggers or other websites, as they may not have fully researched the relief organizations they list. The public can go to to research relief organizations and other charities to verify that they are accredited by the BBB which means they meet the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.

Be wary of claims that 100 percent of donations will assist relief victims. 

Despite what an organization might claim, charities have fund raising and administrative costs. Even a credit card donation will involve, at a minimum, a processing fee. If a charity claims 100 percent of collected funds will be assisting earthquake victims, the truth is that the organization is still probably incurring fund raising and administrative expenses.  It may use some of its other funds to pay these costs, but the expenses will still be incurred.

Find out if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the impacted areas.

Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to bring in new aid workers to provide assistance quickly.  See if the charity’s website clearly describes what the charity can do to address immediate needs.

Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups. 

Some charities may be raising money to pass along to relief organizations.  If so, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and giving directly to those that have a presence in the region. Or, at a minimum, check out the ultimate recipients of these donations to see whether they are equipped to provide aid effectively.

Gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations. 

In-kind drives for food and clothing, while well intentioned, may not necessarily be the quickest way to help those in need – unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid properly. Ask the charity about its transportation and distribution plans. Be wary of those who are not experienced in disaster relief assistance.


ABOUT BBB WISE GIVING ALLIANCE: BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB WGA) is a standards-based charity evaluator that seeks to verify the trustworthiness of nationally-soliciting charities by completing rigorous evaluations based on 20 holistic standards that address charity governance, effectiveness reporting, finances, fund raising, appeal accuracy, and other issues. Learn more about the 20 BBB Charity Standards and about local charity review at local Better Business Bureaus at