Aid Pours In

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - 3:57pm

Americans open hearts and wallets to help Japan, but not at level some expected.

Many Americans are donating money in the wake of the humanitarian crisis in Japan, but they may not be digging quite as deep as before.

Charitable donations are rolling in at slower pace than other recent disasters.

$23 million was donated through the first four days of the Japan disaster, compared to $150 million through the first four days of last year's earthquake in Haiti.

"If the down economy was a factor, we would have expected to see it in the Haiti disaster," says CharityNavigator.org president and CEO Ken Berger.

CharityNavigator.org rates the effectiveness and efficiency of charities.

Berger says Japan's relative wealth compared to Haiti's poverty is one likely reason for lower donations.

"Some people have the sense that the need for a charitable contribution is not as great as it might be in some of those other instances," he says.

Some critics contend the rise of text donation has actually cut into total dollar amounts by
restricting contributions to a low amount, compared to unrestricted donations made by other means.

Berger disagrees.

"The money that's coming in from text messaging is actually tapping new donors, a lot of younger donors, a lot of people who might not have felt in a position to give before," he says.

Donations from corporate America, meanwhile, are keeping pace with, if not exceeding amounts
contributed during Haiti's recovery.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, $67 million in cash has come in so far from U.S. companies.

The U.S. Chamber says worldwide, corporations have donated $137 million to Japan's relief efforts.
 

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