Volunteer and donate | FEMA.gov

After a disaster, people come together to help. To get the most out of your contributions, it’s important to follow the guidelines for donating and volunteering responsibly. The proven best practices below will give you a starting point.

You can also email the FEMA Donations Unit for answers to specific questions or to make an in-kind donation.

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Contact FEMA’s Industry Liaison Program for information on business relationships (contracts) with the agency.

Explore FEMA careers to see what opportunities are currently available.

money is the best

Financial contributions to recognized disaster relief organizations are the fastest, most flexible and efficient method of giving. Organizations on the ground know what items and quantities are needed, often buy in bulk with discounts, and where possible buy through local disaster businesses, supporting economic recovery.

To find a list of trusted organizations that can best use your generous contributions, visit National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.

In-kind donations: confirm what, where and when

Donated items are needed. Knowing what is needed, where it is needed and doing it at the right time is key. Critical needs change rapidly. Before collecting, confirm the need.

  • Not everything is necessary. Used clothes are never needed.
  • Bulk donations are best. Single item pallet loads, sorted and packed.
  • Timing is important. Too early or too late and no one wins.
  • Transportation must be worked. How will it get where it is needed?

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Do not self-deploy to disaster areas.

Trusted organizations operating in the affected area know where volunteers are needed. Depending on the disaster and the current phase it is in, volunteers can be extremely helpful in ensuring that survivors can get back to their new normal. By working with an established non-profit organization, proper safety, training and skills can be considered.

The recovery lasts much longer than the media attention. There will be a need for volunteers for many months, often many years, after the disaster. Your help is often needed long after a disaster.

Let us help you

If you have items to donate, time to volunteer for a nonprofit, or money to donate and have questions, email the Donations Unit at FEMA. We would like to help you, help others.

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