Disaster fatigue. There is an endless cycle of devastation in the world - hurricanes, earthquakes, terror attacks, drought, and any number of unimaginable, sometimes sudden catastrophes.
With each one comes a new, legitimate appeal for donations. So we dig around our budgets, basements, pockets, and seat cushions looking for something to give. And then the next one. And the next. And with each disaster, we can become a little more weary, a little slower to respond.
Disaster fatigue. Each new one wears us down a little bit more. But we don't want to become callous.
Part of the fatigue may come from how we come up with something to donate. Disasters are unplanned, and so our attempts to donate can sometimes be unplanned. And we can get tired of trying to squeeze out donations on a moment's notice. But therein is the problem.
Disasters are unplanned, but they are not unexpected. But somehow, our need to give can be unexpected. Fatigue comes, in part, because we didn't anticipate the need to donate, even though we know full well the next disaster is coming sometime, somewhere.
So, anticipate the unplanned. Determine how much you want to donate on an annual basis, set that money aside, if even a month at a time. When the unplanned happens, dip into that stash and give. Then rebuild the stash.
This approach will also help you determine how much to give to any specific situation, and give you the freedom to give the entire amount.
Alternately, give monthly to a trusted disaster relief organization (like our own TouchGlobal) ... and then resist the temptation to feel guilty if you don't give in response to a specific tragedy.
We want to give things - clothes, bottled water, supplies. Usually what is best is to donate money, which empowers the relief organizations to buy whatever they see is needed. Plus, there's not need to transport stuff from here to there.
If you do donate things, don't donate your cruddy stuff. It won't get used, it will just be piled onto overburdened trash heaps, and worst of all, giving cruddy stuff to those in need communicates what you really think of them.
(image: The Guardian)