Responding to the crisis in Ukraine

7 Mar 2022 Sandra Bailie    Last updated: 22 Mar 2022

We all have been horrified by what is happening in Ukraine and naturally want to help. Charities are active in Ukraine and surrounding countries supporting refugees and worldwide lobbying and raising funds.

Donating money

The quickest and most effective way to help Ukrainian people is to contribute through a registered charity. The charities best placed to reach the victims on the ground are those with experience providing help to refugees and displaced people, working with international partners and responding to conflict and disasters.

By giving to a registered, regulated charity, the public can have assurance that their funds will be accounted for in line with charity law and fundraising regulations.

If you want to donate money, there are a number of charities providing humanitarian relief in Ukraine. All public donations donated via the following link will be doubled by the UK government, up to a total of £25 million. Go to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) for more information.

Make your donation safely

There are lots of organisations across the UK and internationally who have launched appeals, and you may wish to donate through these organisations. It is vital that when you give money you know that it will go to the people it was intended to help. Even in times of crisis, you need to be on the lookout for scams and fraud.

Five simple steps you can take to ensure your money is safe and being used effectively:

  • Check the charity’s name and registration number using the search the charity registers Charity Commission NI or Charity Commission for England and Wales
  • Make sure the charity is genuine before giving any financial information
  • Be careful when clicking on links or responding to emails
  • Find out about how the charity is using their funds
  • If in doubt, ask the charity or organisation for more information

The Fundraising Regulator has published tips for giving safely which are very useful for the public. To find out more click here.

Charities in NI wanting to help

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has issued important guidance for charities in NI wanting to help. You need to consider your own charitable purposes and whether other charities are better placed to help (you could organise fundraising for them). In considering what you can do under your existing purposes, the Commission has advised that you will also need to check whether your purposes have restrictions, for example, to benefit a particular local area or type of beneficiary. If you do decide to fundraise ensure you use your charity number, keep accurate records and account for the money raised separately.

Four things to do if you want to fundraise for an existing charity

  • check with the charity before fundraising for them.
  • check out their webpage for their advice and information for supporters.
  • do NOT use the name of a charity without its permission.
  • make sure your material doesn’t make your organisation appear as if it is a charity, if it is not.

Click CCNI for more information.

The Chartered Institute of Fundraising has published a useful article with advice on fundraising during an emergency. Make sure you are as clear and accurate as possible, think about how you will tell donors about the difference they have made and respond to any questions, consider how your donors will feel about the crisis and think about any offers of support you will not accept.

Donating essential supplies

One of the best ways to help is by donating cash through trusted charities and aid organisations, rather than donating goods. Cash can be transferred quickly to areas where it is needed and individuals and aid organisations can use it to buy what is most needed. Donations of goods that have not been requested, can block supply chains and mean that more urgent life-saving assistance is delayed or prevented from getting through.

Organisations across NI are gathering essential supplies, such as clothes, first aid and sanitary products. Many charities and community groups will have lists of items they need. Again, only give if you know that the goods have been specifically requested by organisations or people on the ground and will not make things more difficult for them. Many groups and individuals have collected essential items and are currently on the road distributing them, the amazing response from the public has been such that some are now overwhelmed with items.

Save the Children has written an article explaining how best to support families in Ukraine. It highlights the problems with sending items rather than cash. Click here to read it.'s picture
by Sandra Bailie

Head of Organisational Development

[email protected]

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