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Tips offered for donating during crisis

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SmartLink.org recently issued guidelines designed to help individual donors and small foundations help communities affected by foreclosures and the mortgage crisis.

“Right now, the mortgage crisis is creating economic and social instability for children, families and entire communities,” Elizabeth Myrick, project director for SmartLink.org, says in a statement.

“Even in communities that have made great strides of late,” she says, “the crisis has undone many of those achievements, as families struggle to meet their most basic needs – housing and employment.”

The guidelines suggest four steps: Get informed, get connected, choose your issue, and bring it together.

Getting informed involves finding areas in one’s community most in need of assistance and learning what’s being done to help them recover. The goal is to help donors and foundations direct their aid to the area of greatest need.

To get connected, SmartLink.org advises interacting with local leaders, community groups and other foundations to share information. In addition to making others aware of the problems caused by foreclosures, the goal is to help coordinate multiple groups to help out.

Because the mortgage crisis involves several issues, from the immediate need for new homes to child relocation and job-finding, the group says, it’s important to choose which issue one intends to tackle before taking action.

A clear and focused goal is more likely to be attained than a scattershot one, the organization says.

And the guidelines advise donors and foundations to bring their knowledge together to make the final decisions of where, for whom and how much to donate.

Smartlink.org is the information and donor website of the Community Giving Resource, a project of the Neighborhood Funders Group.

The Community Giving Resource aims to encourage new and continuing philanthropic investment in low-income areas.

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