The second wave of COVID-19 infections in India this spring has overwhelmed hospitals and both urban and rural communities. As of May 14, more than 24 million cases of COVID-19 and 262,317 deaths have been reported. India’s population density and diversity — it has 29 states, each with its own languages, cultures, and religions — adds complexity to relief efforts. The latest surge is more rural than the first wave, making delivery of care and services even more challenging. Further complicating matters is the emergence of new virus variants.

Individuals and institutions in India and around the world are stepping forward to provide urgently needed assistance. Whether you have $10 to give or $10,000, here’s how to help.

In this latest and urgent crisis, three principles of effective grantmaking remain true: Give immediately. Give flexibly and consistently. Consider both grassroots and larger, networked organizations. Here’s why:

Give immediately. India has a robust civil sector which relies heavily on philanthropy. The scale of this crisis means all nonprofit organizations and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) working in the region are affected and needed for effective response. Giving immediately shores up the infrastructure that communities across India rely on. If you already have trusted partners in India, find out what their needs are and provide financial support now.

Give flexibly and consistently. Now is the time to consider removing restrictions of timing or purpose. For example, if you are an individual who gives a small amount every month and can afford to, make a larger donation at one time. If you are a grantmaker who gives restricted grants, consider converting those grants to general operating/emergency funding.

Consider both grassroots organizations and larger, networked organizations. Grassroots organizations often know how to reach people in affected geographic areas who are especially vulnerable and/or hard to reach. Networked organizations and their partners like the Indian Red Cross are coordinating with the Indian national and state governments and know the global supply chain, logistics, and resources available across sectors.

One of the easiest ways to help is to provide financial support to an intermediary fund that provides funding to a wide range of nonprofits working in-country. Due to the breadth of the work they support, such funds often have good knowledge of the changing needs on the ground and which organizations are well positioned to help. Intermediary funds serve as an important bridge among and between the many stakeholders needed for effective crisis response, including outside donors, grassroots organizations, corporations, and governments.

Dasra has long facilitated collaborations between donors, nonprofits, corporations, and governments. Its COVID-19 fund will pass 100% of donations to local organizations that are importing oxygen concentrators for hospitals, testing communities for co-morbidities, providing support to migrant communities, and delivering much-needed food and aid.

GiveIndia, an intermediary crowdfunding platform that coordinates with several COVID-19 fundraisers in India and has the support of multiple high net worth individuals and corporations including Google and Microsoft, is boosting oxygen supply, distributing food to families struggling with hunger, providing sanitary napkins for women, and giving cash support to families with deceased loved ones.

American India Foundation, founded by Indian Americans, the largest group of the Indian diaspora outside of India, focuses on securing medical equipment and PPE, setting up portable hospitals, and decentralizing vaccine administration.

Read the full article about India's second COVID wave at The Center for High Impact Philanthropy.