This post was last edited on 10.10.17 at 3:07 PM EST.
On Sunday night, fires ignited in Northern California in areas including Napa and Sonoma. According to CNN, these massive wildfires (in excess of a dozen) have already destroyed more than 1,500 homes and commercial buildings as well as covered approximately 120,000 acres and continue to consume even more in Napa wine country.
While the most immediate task for emergency crews is to help people evacuate residents, fire officials are working on a plan to end the wildfires despite the dry winds and lack of resources.
Because you’ve come to this article, you’ve likely heard this devastating news and want to show your support.
If you’re looking for a way to raise money, donate to, or volunteer to help victims in Northern California, we have 4 ways you can show your support:
- Launch your own crowdfunding campaign.
- Consider getting your donations matched.
- Encourage others to support causes on social media.
- Give to nonprofits that are supporting that community.
No matter how you decide to support the wildfire efforts in California, every amount donated counts! Get ready to learn how you can help.
If you want even more ways to raise money and support the California wildfire efforts, check out Fundly’s list of ideas.
If you or someone you know is personally affected by the wildfires in California you might feel compelled to tell your story and start a crowdfunding campaign. Since the aftereffects can be extremely costly, raising money online is a great way to rally support in a short period of time.
Crowdfunding is a great tool to raise funds because campaigns can be set up in a matter of minutes and they’re inexpensive to create.
If you’re still not convinced, look at these successful crowdfunding campaigns to see just how much you can raise.
Additionally, campaigns can easily be shared on social media, email, and via text message so that you can reach everyone in your network and encourage them to support your cause.
To get started, you’ll need to:
- Choose a crowdfunding platform. The platform that you choose will play a huge role in the success of your campaign. Look for a platform that will let you keep the funds even if you don’t reach your goal or meet your deadline so you can donate every penny you raise. We recommend Fundly.
- Set a goal. Having a goal is important as it will help you rally supporters and show donors how far you’ve come.
- Write a compelling description and upload photos. If you or a loved one is personally impacted by the wildfires in California, don’t be afraid to tell your story. Even if you’re not directly impacted, use the description to show people why this cause matters.
- Promote on social media. Last, but certainly not least, post your crowdfunding campaign on social media and send emails to your friends and family to encourage them to donate. The more you spread the word, the better chance you have of gaining donors and reaching your goal.
If you’re in a time crunch to look for the right crowdfunding platform, we have a list of our top recommended options.
We recommend Fundly because it’s a “keep-it-all” platform and has highly shareable pages. Sign up for a campaign by clicking here or the image below.
Even if you can’t create your own campaign, consider donating to the many campaigns that are currently supporting the victims of the Northern California wildfires.
Here are two certified fundraisers for wildfire relief that you can give to right now.
1. California Fire Relief Fund — Double the Donation set up the California Fire Relief Fund on October 9 in response to the wildfires. This campaign promises to donate any funds raised to the fire departments combating these wildfires, as well as regional nonprofits that are serving the people affected by this great tragedy. Check out the campaign:
2. Relief Efforts for Massive Sonoma County Fire — Launched by the Fundly Team, this crowdfunding campaign aims to help the victims of the wildfires in Santa Rosa, CA. It’s already gained quite a bit of traction. Check it out:
Whether you donate to a crowdfunding campaign or local nonprofit, don’t forget about matching gifts. Having your donation matched by your employer (if you’re eligible) will make your donation go much further in supporting the wildfire efforts in California.
Many companies will match your donations at a 1:1 ratio, which means that for every $1 you donate, the organization or crowdfunding campaign will get another $1 from your company.
Moreover, there are some companies that even match at higher ratios so that you raise additional funds for your organization.
Not sure if your corporation has a matching gift program? When you make a donation, look out for a matching gift search bar (either on the organization’s “Ways to Give” page or directly on the donation form), that will let you search for your corporation’s matching gift program.
Also, we’re making our matching gift search tool available to folks looking to get donations to the relief effort matched. Just type your company name into the search feature below:
By taking the initiative to have your donations matched, you’ll be able to raise even more funds for your organization with just a little extra effort on your part.
Spreading the word is an effective way to rally the support of others—and there is no better place to do this than on social media.
With so many followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you’ll be able to reach even more people to encourage them to contribute.
No matter how much you donate, share your donation on your social media accounts to make others aware of the ways they can support the wildfire efforts in California.
Think about it this way: if you’re friends see that your invested and passionate about this cause, it might spark them to learn more and potentially donate as well.
To craft the best social media posts:
- Use images and video to draw people’s attention.
- Link to the crowdfunding campaign or organization you donated to.
- Share posts (like this one) to inspire your friends and family to get involved.
There are so many ways you can spread the word and encourage others to support those who will be impacted by the wildfires in California. For example, see how this campaign is being shared by donors on Twitter.
With just a short tweet, this campaign supporter was able to spread the word about a fundraiser that’s working to help California stop the fire.
Find a campaign you can stand behind and give it a social share!
If you’re feeling the urge to help, but aren’t sure where to turn, look to the community-based nonprofits and organizations that are stepping up to the plate.
Nonprofits who are already cemented in key Northern Californian communities will know the best way to use funds and provide aid to those in need. Plus, you’ll be sending your support directly to the organizations—and people—who need it most.
Check out our list of organizations that can help the afflicted communities:
- This emergency shelter information for Santa Rosa includes information about where volunteers are needed most. As the fire progresses, these shelters may need further supplies and donations.
- The Red Cross is actively helping Northern California evacuees. See how you can help!
- For families with animals, the Sonoma Humane Society is building a grassroots effort to find shelters that are open to pets.
Any of these organizations can help you send aid to the right places. After all, they’re already on the ground, helping those who need it!
It can be difficult seeing what’s happening in Northern California and not knowing how you can contribute. Hopefully, these ideas have inspired you to take action, whether it’s through starting your own campaign or donating to a local charity.