Helping relief efforts in Japan | npENGAGE

Helping relief efforts in Japan

By on Mar 17, 2011


It’s just few days after the worst earthquake ever recorded in Japan, followed by a devastating tsunami and still uncertain consequences around affected nuclear plants, and many of us are thinking about how we can help.

I’m thinking about Japan a lot this week because I lived in the Kansai area (about 3 hours southwest of Tokyo on the bullet train) for 4 years. Even though it was many years after the 1995 earthquake which had decimated Kobe, people were still affected by the memory of that event, much like the memory of 9/11 or Katrina is for people who survived those events here.

Speaking to those friends in the past few days, it’s clear from their comments that they are reliving it now. Everyone is clearly very concerned for their friends, colleagues and fellow citizens to the northeast. It is overwhelming knowing that this series of tragedies is so much greater in scale. When I hear how they are affected, it makes me want to help even more.

Already the NonProfit Times is reporting that charitable donations are lower for the response to the disasters in Japan than to the earthquake in Haiti. My anecdotal evidence from clients is that it is lower but how much seems to vary.

There are a number of reasons NPT cites for this, but a few have really struck me in the last few days as I’ve watched and listened to the news.

People may be thinking that because Japan is more developed the need is less. I’m sure that in macro terms this is probably true, but for people stranded in temporary and sometimes insufficient shelters in freezing temperatures or trying to find their loved ones, whatever we can do to expedite help will make a difference.

The media is less focused on the human story and the media is the primary driver for disaster giving. The public is following the story almost as much as they did the quake in Haiti, but so much more of what is being reported in Japan is about the economic impact and particularly the impact on technology and the auto industry than it is about individual stories.

This troubles me but doesn’t surprise me. Japanese culture emphasizes the group and people tend to be quite stoic, minimizing their personal needs, so it is likely harder for journalists to get those individual stories than to report on potential delays to you buying an iPad 2. I do hope the nonprofits providing aid will not give up and will seek to tell the human story as they follow up on the gifts they receive.

We’ll keep you updated as more news develops on the fundraising front. In the meantime, please do consider if you can help. Below is a list of those organizations I know of (both Convio clients and others…all that I could find really) providing relief to Japan and other affected areas.

Finally, if you haven’t seen it, this photo stream from the NY Times is excellent and being continually updated. It is worth a look if you want to understand the impact this event is having on the people of Japan.


Organizations addressing the disasters in Japan and other affected areas (in no specific order):

Compiled from internal sources, The DMA, mainstream media sources and If you know of others please add them in the comments. This is a long list and not intended as an endorsement of any specific organization. Please always be wise in how you choose to give. Please do if you can, and thank you.


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