Thursday, March 31, 2011

PositivelyPittsburghLive, How Pittsburghers Can Help Tsunami Victims

Positively Pittsburgh Live! 3-21-11
How Can Pittsburghers Help Tsunami Victims

Pittsburghers are a generous lot and will dig into their pockets to help out even in tough times. So how do you know what is a safe place to donate your money to help out? The AARP suggest these organizations: American Red Cross, World Vision, Save the Children, and Mercy Corps.) With so many needs around the world we need to know where are money is going and that it is being used for the expressed purpose.

Today’s Guests
Lauren Chapman, Marketing & Communications Specialist, American Red Cross Southwestern Pennsylvania Chapter
Susan Smith, Together We Flourish, a collaborative site that nonprofit organizations in western Pennsylvania are invited to participate in to help raise awareness about their mission and their work.

From Avoid Earthquake Relief Scams for Japan: Safely get your money to where it's needed by Sid Kirchheimer from the AARP Bulletin March 15, 2011
Q. I'd like to donate money for the earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan. But I've heard that scammers are setting up scam charities. How can I donate safely?
A. You're right to be concerned. Of course, there are many legitimate organizations that are soliciting donations specifically for victims in Japan. The better-known names include the American Red Cross, World Vision, Save the Children, and Mercy Corps.
  • cyber-crooks set up donation websites that appear legitimate to collect donors' money and their credit card information for later use in identity theft. These sites sometimes have Internet addresses that are similar to those of trusted websites.
  • Another common trick is to send e-mails with attachments or links that promise to show photographs or video of the disaster but actually download computer viruses to your machine. The come-ons can also reach you as links on legitimate websites or search engine result pages — scammers know the techniques of getting search engines to notice and list their sites.
So here's how to ensure your donations are properly used — for Japan or other countries that may be hit by disasters:
  • Be cautious of e-mails that claim to be from charities or that promise links to photographs or video of disaster areas. Unless you previously made a donation to a particular group, and provided it with your e-mail address, delete any incoming e-mails seeking a donation.
  • To find a charity's website and donate, don't click on a link that you see on a website or an e-mail. Instead, type the charity's name into a search engine. Legitimate nonprofits' Internet addresses typically end in ".org," not ".com."
  • Do not donate via requests on Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites. Scammers can be behind those appeals as well.

Lauren Chapman

  • Marketing and communications specialist with the American Red Cross Southwestern Pennsylvania Chapter since May 2010
  • A recent graduate of Pennsylvania State University, Lauren holds a BA in Public Relations and a BA in French and Francophone Studies.
  • Previously, in addition to other intern positions, Lauren was an intern with the local Red Cross.
The American Red Cross
  • A humanitarian organization led by volunteers                          
  • Provides relief to victims of disasters and helps people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies
  • Founded in 1881 by visionary leader Clara Barton, the American Red Cross has been the nation's premier emergency response organization
  • Part of a worldwide movement that offers neutral humanitarian care to the victims of war and also aiding victims of devastating natural disasters
  • Over the years, the organization has expanded its services, always with the aim of preventing and relieving suffering.
  • The Southwestern Pennsylvania Chapter serves 1.6 million residents, chartered in 1917 and is headquartered in downtown Pittsburgh.
  • Helps victims with their immediate needs and also offers referrals for long-term assistance.
  • Responds to a local emergency nearly once per day, most often a house fire
  • Locally, provides relief to the victims of approximately 300 disasters each year, helps more than 500 families, and trains more than 37,000 individuals in lifesaving skills.
  • Not a government agency and it relies on the generosity of the people of southwestern Pennsylvania to fulfill its mission.
In Japan:
  • The American Red Cross has made an initial contribution of $10 million to the Japanese Red Cross Society to assist in its ongoing efforts to provide medical care and relief assistance.
  • An official at the Japanese Red Cross said, “The compassion the American people have demonstrated over the past week through their generous support to the American Red Cross is incredibly uplifting at a time when we are dealing with such an immense humanitarian tragedy."
  • In addition, we have deployed a disaster management expert to Japan for a week-long mission. She is serving on a seven-person, international team focused on providing high-level support and advice to the Japanese Red Cross.
  • The Japanese Red Cross is a highly experienced disaster relief organization with 2 million volunteers.
American Red Cross, Southwestern Pennsylvania Chapter, 225 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
24-hour: 888-217-9599

- Text REDCROSS to 90999
- Call 1-800-RED-CROSS

Susan Smith and Together We Flourish
  • Susan teaches and is active in various social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. 
  • Together We Flourish is a collaborative blog that nonprofit organizations in western Pennsylvania are invited to participate in to help raise awareness about their mission and their work
  • Our website has over 110 participating organizations and is limited to nonprofits in western Pennsylvania. The nonprofits we serve range from regional offices of national organization like the Salvation Army to local organizations that help women in crisis like the Crisis Center of Lawrence County
  • Blogging is just one component of social media, but it is a great way to raise awareness about the real work that is being done in our communities. 
  • Effective use of social platforms will help nonprofits improve the likelihood of someone being able to find them. Social media offers us a unique opportunity to increase supporters and followers of our work
  • The key is understanding that these platforms are communication tools, but words are your only means of communication.  Therefore, effective use of words is key to helping others understand who you are.
  • Good content is key to a strong following, but so is effective interaction. As human beings, we are more likely to follow an support people and organizations that we feel as if we know.
  • The other key to successful social networking is “calls to action”. Tell people what it is that you would like them to do and then ask them to do it.
People in the Pittsburgh and surrounding area can help by:
  • Being interested enough in the good work nonprofits are doing in our community to subscribe for updates on
  • Share your thoughts by commenting on the posts the nonprofits submit
  • If you are active on Facebook and/or Twitter, please share our comments and tweets with your friends.
  • Offer to help the participating organizations through volunteering and financial or in-kind support
  • Consider supporting the work of Together We Flourish by advertising on the site or becoming a sponsor.
Susan Smith with Together We Flourish
phone: 412-445-8699, e-mail:

To hear this episode of Positively Pittsburgh Live in its entirety go to

Notes taken from Live Broadcast of PositivelyPittsburghLive, 7 PM Monday, 3-21-11
(c) PositivelyPittsburghLive and Joanne Quinn-Smith 2011

Delana Flowers is a Positively Pittsburgh Live reporter, an independent writer and owner of Ingenuity by Delana Flowers ©, writing effective copy so you don’t have to. Services include copywriting for newsletters, blogs, ad copy, marketing pieces, articles, reviews, invitations, postcards, flyers and more.

No comments: