Donations and volunteers can be extremely helpful after a disaster, as long as they meet the needs of the victims, the Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOADs), and the government officials involved in the response. Unfortunately, donated goods and volunteers that are not specifically necessary can actually cause more confusion and hurt relief efforts. Coordinating donated money, goods, and volunteer efforts after a disaster ensures that survivors get help effectively and efficiently.  

Massachusetts residents can help those in need by donating and volunteering responsibly following an emergency or disaster. These donation and volunteer tips apply to disaster relief efforts within Massachusetts, across the country, and internationally.

Get Involved with a recognized disaster relief organization before a disaster happens to receive the necessary training to help when a disaster occurs.

After a disaster, wait for instructions from local officials or check with specific organizations about volunteer opportunities before going directly to volunteer at a relief organization, hospital, or disaster site. Be patient — many people want to volunteer immediately after a disaster, but there may be a greater need for volunteers during the recovery period, weeks and months after a disaster strikes.