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Advice To Those Wanting To Give To Ukrainian Relief

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When crisis hits around the world, as it has in Ukraine, Christians are often first in line to help.  That’s a very good thing.

However, there’s a reason the Bible tells us to love God with our mind as well as our heart.  At times like these, we should engage both.  Below are a few principles and tips to keep in mind as you give to Ukrainian relief efforts.  We also have our assessment of some ministries that are raising funds for Ukrainian relief.

The Old Rules Apply.  Just because there’s a crisis, that doesn’t mean a ministry that has been poorly run suddenly becomes well-run.  In fact, often a crisis causes a weak organization to break.  That’s why even in the midst of crisis and urgent appeals, take an extra moment to do your homework.  MinistryWatch gives ministries a Donor Confidence Score, a Financial Efficiency Rating, and a Transparency Grade.  (You can search on a ministry and check their scores here.)  Don’t give money to poorly rated ministries, or to ministries that do share enough information to produce a rating.

Beware of “Matching Gifts” or “Challenge Gifts.”  These sorts of giving schemes can be legitimate, but in times of crisis, they are often used to heighten the sense of urgency.  Educate yourself about Challenge Gifts and Matching Gifts by clicking here.

Boots on the Ground.  When crisis erupts in a far corner of the world, it is too late to establish a presence there.  Ministries that are the most effective are those who have already been operating there.  They have “boots on the ground”:  personnel, partners, processes, and infrastructure.  Give to these ministries.

Ask Where The Money Is Going?  Ministries with a real plan should be able to tell you where the money is going.  If the fundraising appeal doesn’t specifically say so, ask.  If the ministry doesn’t respond with clear and specific answers, it’s possible it is just using the crisis opportunistically, hoping for a financial windfall.

Individual Ministries

When crisis occurs, MinistryWatch often gets emails from readers with questions like, “What about [name of ministry]?”  Here are a few we know about, along with a quick analysis.  We will be revising this list as the situation in Ukraine develops.  We are listing the ministries in alphabetical order.  If the ministry is a part of the MinistryWatch 1000 database, we have inserted a link to its profile.

Anglican Relief and Development Fund is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.  See it’s profile here.  You can find its Form 990 here.

Barnabas Aid has been active in Moldova and elsewhere in the region.  Barnabas Aid is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).  It receives an “A” Transparency Grade from MinistryWatch.  However, because the organization has a negative net worth (liabilities exceed assets), we do not give it a Financial Efficiency Rating.  You can see the MinistryWatch profile here.

Children’s Hunger Fund is actively working with partners in Ukraine to provide food and other resources for those who remain in the country.  It is also working in Romania and Poland to provide aid to those crossing the border to escape the conflict in their homeland. In addition to supporting our established relationships we are reaching out to partnering organizations to assist in providing resources to other surrounding countries taking in Ukrainian refugees. CHF is a member of the ECFA, has a Donor Confidence Score of 95 (“Give With Confidence”) and was a recipient of a MinistryWatch 2019 “Shining Light” designation.

Eastern European Mission has been involved in Bible distribution and engagement in Ukraine for years.  However, the group is not a member of the ECFA, and it does not release its Form 990 to the public.  It does publish an “Impact Report” on its own website, but – based on this lack of transparency — MinistryWatch is not able to confirm the information there.  We therefore cannot make a recommendation regarding this ministry.

Fellowship of Christian Athletes was holding an international staff conference here in the United States when Russia invaded.  Many of FCA’s Ukrainian staff team attended that conference, and are now here in the U.S.  FCA has created a fund to support them here, to bring other family and staff members to the U.S.  FCA is a member of the ECFA (member profile here) and has a 4-Star Financial Efficiency Rating from MinistryWatch.  It has a Donor Confidence Score of 90 (“Give With Confidence”).  Read more here.

International Mission Board (IMB) is the foreign mission agency of the Southern Baptist Convention.  It does not release its Form 990 to the public, but it is a member of the ECFA, and you can read its profile here.  

Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) is another denomination that is working with partner churches in the region to provide direct relief.  As is the case with the IMB (above), churches are not required to release Form 990s, so MinistryWatch is not able to make a recommendation.  Read more about the LCMS efforts here.

MAP International works through on-the-ground partners to providing medicine and health supplies.  MAP International was a MinistryWatch 2021 Shining Light ministry, and it has a Donor Confidence Score of 80: “Give With Confidence.”  See its ECFA profile here.

Mission Eurasia has a Donor Confidence score of 95 (“Give With Confidence”).  It was founded in Ukraine and has had an active presence there for decades.

Mission To The World is the foreign missions arm of the Presbyterian Church in America.  It has a Donor Confidence Score of 75 (“Give With Confidence”). 

Nazarene Compassion Ministries is assisting Ukrainians in transit and with temporary resettlement across Poland, Hungary, Romania, and Moldova. We have established routes in Ukraine and are delivering food aid and hygiene items to families in need.  Nazarene Compassion Ministries was a 2021 “Shining Light” designee from MinistryWatch.  It currently has a Donor Confidence Score of 90:  “Give With Confidence.”

Operation Blessing has deployed its International Disaster Relief team to Poland to help with the massive wave of refugees near the border with Ukraine. The Operation Blessing team includes a medical doctor and a logistics expert. They will be bringing relief supplies from Operation Blessing’s Chesapeake, Virginia, warehouse, including water filtration devices, solar lamps, and hygiene kits which will be distributed to refugees who are staying in camps near the Polish-Ukraine border.  Operation Blessing also plans to set up medical clinics near the border, and coordinate the distribution of food, hygiene kits, and water to those in tent camps. Operation Blessing was a 2019 and 2020 “Shining Light” designee from MinistryWatch.  It currently has a Donor Confidence Score of 80, “Give With Confidence.”

Samaritan’s Purse has been working in crisis zones for decades and has the capability to be agile and effective in Ukraine.  It has had resources “on the ground” there for years.  MinistryWatch gives Samaritan’s Purse a Donor Confidence Score of 80 (out of 100), which means “Give With Confidence.”  See its ECFA profile here.

Send Relief is a collaboration between the International Mission Board and North American Mission Board.  It is a member of the ECFA.  You can see its ECFA profile here.  However, because it does not release its Form 990, MinistryWatch is not able to build a profile or make a recommendation.  You can read the limited amount of information we have for Send Relief here.

Slavic Gospel Association has had long partnerships with local churches in Ukraine and Russia, more than 2300 in total and more than 40 in eastern Ukraine, where the fighting is most intense.  They are providing meals and other services.  It has a Donor Confidence Score of 85 (“Give With Confidence”) and is a member of the ECFA.  See its ECFA profile here.

United Methodist Committee On Relief is currently working in Ukraine and the surrounding region.  As is the case with the IMB and LCMS (above), UMCOR is not required to release Form 990s, so MinistryWatch is not able to make a recommendation.

World Vision is on the ground in Eastern Europe helping thousands of refugees along the Romanian border, providing them with essential aid such as emergency assistance packages and educational support. The organization has had a presence in Romania for more than 30 years.  World Vision has a Donor Confidence Score of 80 (“Give with Confidence”).  See its ECFA member profile here.

Editor’s Note:  We will be adding to this list as we learn of other organizations doing work in Ukraine, or in nearby countries in support of Ukrainians.

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Warren Cole Smith

Warren previously served as Vice President of WORLD News Group, publisher of WORLD Magazine, and Vice President of The Colson Center for Christian Worldview. He has more than 30 years of experience as a writer, editor, marketing professional, and entrepreneur. Before launching a career in Christian journalism 25 years ago, Smith spent more than seven years as the Marketing Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers.