As Japan struggles to overcome a disastrous string of events -- including a possible nuclear catastrophe -- millions of us have sought to help, often by donating money to urgent relief efforts.
But if you donate via text message, your donations may take up to 90 days to reach aid organizations that need the money as soon as possible.
Even though they're getting large amounts of free media attention for their text-to-donate programs, companies like AT&T and Verizon have chosen not to release the donation money right away. Many customers assume that they're sending funds straight to disaster zones in the crucial days after the earthquake, but donations are transferred after the end of your next billing cycle, a process that can take up to three months.
Masaya Uchino, a law student in San Francisco with family in Japan, started a petition on Change.org to demand that AT&T, Verizon, and other major phone service providers stop delaying much needed donations from reaching organizations doing relief work in Japan. Please add your name to the petition now:CON:
We gotta send some money to Japan. While this is a natural and wholly laudable impulse, it may not do Japan much good. Annie Lowery on Slate points out that the oceans of sympathetic cash collected in the immediate aftermath of a crisis often overwhelm relief organizations’ ability to distribute wisely. That’s especially true if the donations are too targeted. According to GoodIntentions.org, the well-meaning funds that went to build orphanages in Indonesia in the wake of the 2004 tsunami, for example, build so many more than were needed that they perversely led some parents to abandon their children. [Read More...]