With what sadness and shock we view the terrible earthquake and tsunami in Japan, feelings that we know well from Katrina, Haiti, New Zealand, Chile, Indonesia. And many of us nonprofit folk have another feeling, too: internal turmoil about disaster giving.
On one hand, we’re happy that so many people and governments are giving. On the other hand, we can’t help but be aggravated that they don’t give as much — money or thought — at other times.
On one hand, we know that Doctors Without Borders and Red Cross do good work. On the other hand, we know that there are surely local nonprofits that are doing great work and that will be there after the disaster is “over,” but we don’t know who they are.
Mika Nakahara, a longtime nonprofit activist in Tokyo, commented this morning in an interview that, “Japan is a developed country. We are not used to getting international aid; we are used to giving aid to other countries.” But she added, “It is a new feeling to see that other countries care about us, even countries like Korea, China and Russia where we have political conflicts. Goodwill from abroad means a lot to us!”
When we asked where people could give donations directly to Japanese nonprofits, she said ruefully that Japanese nonprofits don’t usually raise money overseas, so their websites are usually only in Japanese and are not set up for international donations. She herself is giving to Shanti Volunteer Association which has those characteristics.
In the meantime, all disasters remind us of the power and spontaneous generosity of volunteers who in Japan are everywhere setting up aid and reconstruction stations of all kinds. Our hearts go out to the people suffering in so many places in the world, and to those among them who are finding the strength to help one another.
(Photo credit Japanese Red Cross)
* In this issue we’re pleased to have two pieces on strategic planning: one is a rebuttal to last issue’s critique of strategic planning, and the other is a continuation of that article with ideas for alternatives to strategic planning. Ask Rita in HR takes on the question of discrimination in favor of people with disabilities, and the Board Cafe discusses where everyone should sit — yes, sit — at the board meeting.
And take a 3-Minute Vacation to the land of Peeps (the marshmallow ones, that is). Thank you everyone for your continuing involvement with Blue Avocado: through donations, posting Comments, and writing to us at editor @ blueavocado.org. –Jan Masaoka