Donations and Volunteer Coordination
"Do's" and "Don'ts" of Making Donations After a Disaster
It is human nature to feel compassion during and after a disaster strikes. You want to help and you want to do it quickly so the money or goods can begin helping those in need immediately. Community donations in the wake of a disaster can be powerful, but they can also be overwhelming. Below are some helpful links to help you decide how and where you can make a donation with the most significant impact.
When an incident occurs in Ventura County this page will be updated with details on event specific needs and ways to support response and recovery.
Donate! Cash is best. Providing a financial contribution of any size to an organization involved in disaster relief is the most effective way of helping the people in need after a disaster. Ventura County VOAD members are all verified nonprofit organizations that provide disaster response assistance here locally.
Sign up to volunteer and be notified of volunteering opportunities as needs become known (in many cases the greatest need for volunteers will be weeks and months later as recovery efforts start)
Drop off or send unsolicited items
Show up to help unannounced
WHAT TO DONATE
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO REPUTABLE ORGANIZATIONS
A monetary donation allows the charities working on the ground to quickly provide support to individuals and families in need and purchase the supplies they need to address the ever-changing needs of those affected and can often buy in bulk with discounts and, when possible, purchase through businesses local to the disaster, which supports economic recovery.
Ventura County VOAD member organizations provide disaster response services and assistance locally. All are registered non-profits (501c3 organizations). Our member directory page includes links that will take you directly to the website for the voluntary organization, fund or foundation you select. Financial gifts are then managed and allocated by those entities.
Thank you for your interest in assisting your Ventura County neighbors recover. In most disasters, the people needed in the Response Phase are First Responders. Those individuals represent law enforcement, fire and other emergency management personnel. However, after the immediate response there will be many recovery needs and volunteer opportunities. The best ways to help are as follows:
Do NOT go to the scene of a disaster to offer help. First responders are on the scene and must assess what is needed before deploying volunteers. Volunteers will be needed soon, but only when it is safe and secure.
SPECIALIZED VOLUNTEER ASSISTANCE - requires training and/or certification
Donating blood is always a plus in any crisis. Currently there is an urgent need to replenish blood supplies.
Schedule an appointment with Vitalant.
Schedule Appointment with American Red Cross.
UNSOLICITED VOLUNTEER ASSISTANCE
It is generally ill-advised to go into a disaster area on your own and attempt to provide aid. You run the risk of becoming a victim yourself. Volunteer coordinators are working hard to organize volunteers in the best way possible to support the overall disaster operation. Click here for volunteer opportunities.
Don’t donate physical goods unless they are specifically requested by organizations who know the needs and have the ability to distribute the items. In the event of a disaster this page will be updated with known needs.
Victims of disasters need things. Just remember that things pile up and they need to be sorted, stored and distributed. For these reasons, it’s best to provide monetary gifts to relief agencies (even if you can only provide small gifts).
If you wish to donate used goods, drop them off at one of the thrift stores listed below. These agencies have an agreement to track donations and provide vouchers for victims of disaster in Ventura County.
Goodwill - Find a donation center
Avenue Thrift (Ventura Ave, Ventura, CA)
Consider hosting a garage sale and donating the funds to a disaster relief agency
PLEASE CONTINUE HELPING AFTER THE MEDIA GOES AWAY
Disasters require rebuilding, and the need lasts a long time. They have lasting repercussions that require a real commitment of aid agencies. Don’t forget about the victims once the news turns to other pressing issues. Relief organizations need the flexibility to do their jobs well. Get in the habit of giving to and/or volunteering with your favorite relief charity frequently so that it can respond on time and adequately as emergencies develop.