06 Mar 2022

Some positive steps to feel less helpless during a humanitarian crisis

The humanitarian crisis in Ukraine reminds us of the fragility of peace. Heart-breaking images of modern cities under siege. Hundreds of thousands of Europeans being displaced. It’s hard to take in.

The proximity of the situation to the UK, in some ways, can make us feel even more helpless. The outcome really is in the hands of political leaders across the globe.

Despite the complexity, the fear and the feeling of helplessness, positive action can temper the anguish. The support being co-ordinated for those involved has a major positive impact.

However small the individual contribution, we collectively build momentum. Financial assistance will certainly help those in need, but the following suggestions can help you feel better too. The compassion shown by millions of supporters can provide hope for us all.

Empower humanitarian crisis charities

Perhaps the easiest and most effective way to help is to boost the funds of specialist charities. It takes a great deal of logistical knowledge, skill and experience to deliver help where it’s needed. This is where carefully selected charitable donations can have the biggest impact.

The Disasters Emergency Committee brings together 15 leading UK aid charities. It raises funds quickly and efficiently at times of crisis overseas. Its Ukraine Appeal raised £55 million on the first day of its launch.

If you prefer to focus more on support towards young people, options include:

To send help specifically for Ukrainians who are displaced, the United Nations Refugee Agency has its own campaign.

humanitarian crisis Ukraine refugee

Generally, where the crisis is overseas, it’s best to donate money. The donation of physical goods tends to create additional pressure. Often, the cost of sorting and transportation can be higher than the value of the goods themselves.

In addition, cash donations are eligible for tax relief. If you’re a UK taxpayer and complete the Gift Aid declaration, an £80 donation will be boosted up to £100. Higher and additional rate taxpayers can claim further tax relief in annual tax returns.

If you donate on a regular basis, consider opening an account with the Charities Aid Foundation. This allows you to make general contributions, for example, monthly. Then you distribute the funds as and when needed to your favourite charities. You can also sponsor friends, family and colleagues in their individual fundraising efforts.

To read more about the benefits of gifting in general, read 3 helpful hints to increase the joy of giving here.

Directly boost funding to the people affected

You might like the idea of your money getting closer to the people who need it. If so, you can fund local campaigns and even individual residents of Ukraine.

Airbnb have waived fees in Ukraine, as reported in this Guardian article. People are booking accommodation, not to stay in, but to get money directly into the hands of Ukraine residents. Airbnb have also committed to providing accommodation for 100,000 refugees.

Ukrainian journalists can be supported through openDemocracy. The provision of flak jackets, helmets and other safety equipment seeks to maintain local press coverage. This allows Russian language press to continue reporting independently from state-controlled news channels.

Take care to avoid scammers

Unfortunately, there are always people who seek to gain from the misery of others. They prey on the compassion of others by creating realistic fundraising scams.

Websites like GoFundMe empower anyone to raise money for good causes. But this also creates an opportunity for scammers. Avoid donating to campaigns run by individuals unless you know and trust them personally. It’s generally safer to use established and verifiable charities.

Click here for a short YouTube video about how to avoid charity scams.

You can also check charity registers in the following parts of the UK:

Raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis

One of the quickest and simplest ways to build momentum is to show your support publicly. This can encourage and remind others to help in their own way. It’s the accumulation of small actions by many people that has the biggest impact.

Social media to raise awareness of humanitarian crisis

Sharing posts about positive action on social media has a powerful ripple effect. This can be boosted further with the use of hashtags, like:

  • #UkraineCrisis
  • #StandWithUkraine
  • #DEC

It can also provide a morale boost for those affected. Social media is making this conflict more visible than ever, and the show of international support cannot be underestimated.


In financial coaching, the topic of “giving” crops up often. The accumulation of wealth may be important for your future financial security, but it needs balance. Purposeful giving can help your own wellbeing, as well as those you help.

Some financial commentary may focus on the volatility of stock markets in the current crisis. That will not help your wellbeing. Taking tangible steps to help those directly affected by the crisis almost certainly will.