GiveWell, a website that performs charity research, has advice:
We believe that
- Those affected have requested very little, limited aid. Aid being offered far exceeds aid being requested. ...
- Charities are aggressively soliciting donations, often in ways we feel are misleading ...
- Any donation you make will probably be used (a) by the charity you give it to, for activities in a different country; (b) for non-disaster-relief-and-recovery efforts in Japan.
- If you’re looking to pursue (a) and help people in need all over the world, we recommend giving to the best charity you can, rather than basing your giving on who is appealing to you most aggressively with images and language regarding Japan.
- If you prefer (b), a gift to the Japanese Red Cross seems reasonable.
Overall, though, a gift to Doctors Without Borders seems to us like the best way to effectively “respond to this disaster”. We feel they are a leader in transparency, honesty and integrity in relief organizations, and the fact that they’re not soliciting funds for Japan is a testament to this. Rewarding Doctors Without Borders is a move toward improving incentives and improving disaster relief in general.
Earlier suggestions here.
(Hat tip: MR)