Good Good Good's guide on what's happening in Ukraine — and how you can make a difference in Ukraine and in your community
On Thursday, after weeks of a military buildup and drills around the Ukrainian border, Russian president Vladimir Putin announced Russia would “carry out a special military operation” in Ukraine. The Ukrainian government says it will respond with an “all-out defense.”
Countries around the world have condemned the attacks, echoing U.S. President Joe Biden’s statements saying Russia’s invasion would bring a “catastrophic loss of life.”
Explosions have been reported in more than a dozen Ukrainian cities, with attacks coming from the ground, the air, and at sea, including in the capital city of Kyiv. Russian troops landed in the south of Ukraine in Odessa.
There is video footage of people living in Kyiv trying to evacuate as air raid sirens go off in the background, bombs going off in the city, and missiles flying through the air.
Just a day after the attacks began, the New York Times reported more than 100 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians had been killed and many more had been wounded.
It’s heartbreaking, terrifying, and devastating — to say the least.
And the truth is, because of both the nature of how quickly things change in the midst of a war as well as large-scale misinformation and disinformation campaigns from the Russian government, we don’t know everything about what’s happening.
And there’s also a limit to how much we can do to help. At Good Good Good, we always encourage our community to “wage peace” in their own lives, and to encourage it in others. And while that’s good, important, and makes a difference — this is beyond that scope.
But as with any scary, heartbreaking news — there are already good news in the form of incredible people and organizations helping both in Ukraine and from afar.
Nonprofits are gathering and distributing essentials, journalists are on the ground confirming reports so we can have the most accurate picture of what’s going on, professionals are helping care for children who already have trauma from war, and so many more.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed — because it truly is hard to know how to deal with constant bad news — and are looking for ways to support both Ukrainians and these Helpers, here are some ways you can do that:
How To Help Ukraine and Its People
Make a Difference Online By Combatting Misinformation and Disinformation
One of the best things you can do right now to support the people of Ukraine is to do your part to stop misinformation from spreading. As someone who wants to help and speak out about the injustices happening in the region, this can be challenging — but it’s so helpful.
Remember: Disinformation is false information that is spread with deliberate intention to mislead the public, while misinformation is false information that spreads regardless of the intent to mislead.
While disinformation is certainly at play in Russia’s attack, reliable news outlets will disprove that relatively quickly — because it is in direct opposition to factual information.
Misinformation is more challenging, because it often looks and sounds like it could very well be true — and in some cases, contains part-truths — but when you look a little closer, critical details are incorrect that could have negative consequences. When it comes to a war, those consequences get increasingly more severe.
Lastly, don’t spread hopelessness, panic, or fear. A significant secondary goal of Russia is to create this kind of response. The best thing you can do to combat this is to share hard facts, point people to opportunities to make a difference (like this list), and take positive action to support the people of Ukraine.
Be thoughtful about who you get your information from
Because we live in a world with a 24-hour news cycle — between television, social media, and online reporting — that system lends itself to rewarding the news outlet that breaks a piece of news “first.” But “first” is rarely the best, most reliable information.
Focus on getting your information from verifiable sources directly on the ground in Ukraine. And avoid getting information from political pundits, small or newly created social media accounts, or news organizations without accountability systems in place.
Be thoughtful about whose posts you share
When you share information about Ukraine on social media, practice slowing down, double-checking facts, and not hitting the retweet or repost button unless you feel confident about what you’re sharing.
“As we turn to social media for information, let’s be extra careful that we don’t become unwitting agents in the spread of disinformation. Go slow. Vet your sources,” University of Washington professor and online rumor researcher Kate Starbird tweeted.
You should even be thoughtful about sharing from your regular, trusted news sources — not because they’re wrong, but because they might not have complete information yet.
Starbird shared this tip: “Other folks are moving fast and maybe not vetting so well. Mistakes happen. Don’t let their mistake be your mistake and cascade through your network.”
Everybody makes mistakes, but if a piece of information you share about what’s happening in Ukraine turns out to be incorrect — you have a responsibility to take the time to correct your mistake as publicly as you shared it initially.
If you don’t want to (or can’t) take the time to verify the information you share, or issue a public correction when you get something wrong — don’t share it in the first place.
Donate to Ukrainian Nonprofits, Funds, and Organizations Making a Difference
Right now there’s a pressing need to respond to the direct military conflict occurring. Your donations towards immediate necessities — protection equipment, humanitarian responses, and providing food, water, shelter, etc. for people fleeing their homes — will help make a meaningful difference for people in Ukraine.
Also, Ukrainians are hopeful for a time of peace in the future, when their concerns can move back to other non-war-related needs. Your donations to these efforts — like sustainability efforts, art organizations, and programs that support children or the elderly — are also important and valued.
A valid concern you may have is whether or not the money you donate may be confiscated or redirected by the Russian government once they have access to physical control of Ukrainian banks.
It’s expected that, if that occurs, we’re still a ways away from that, and your donation is safe. These organizations need this money to address immediate needs, so it’s likely the money will be spent quickly. While the question is very thoughtful, it seems safe to say that your donation will make it to the right place and have a tangible impact on lives in this dire situation.
We’ve received these recommendations from Ukrainians living in Ukraine, and have vetted them to the best of our ability:
Donate toward Ukraine’s military response
Wings of Phoenix
This organization is equipping the Ukrainian military with non-lethal means of personal protection. Your donation to Wings of Phoenix will support things like bullet-proof vests, military-grade helmets, and individual first aid kits — in addition to treatment for wounded soldiers.
They’ve provided instructions in English for how to make a donation in foreign currencies, and you may also be able to go through their normal donation page.
Other Organizations Supporting Military Efforts
While many are choosing to make humanitarian donations or support non-lethal military efforts, there are a few places to directly donate to military combat. The National Bank of Ukraine has opened up a special account to raise funds for Ukraine’s Armed Forces and many people are also recommending donating to savelife.in.ua via their website.
Directly support people in Ukraine
Mental health is always important, but it’s especially important during challenging times. Lifeline Ukraine is a 24/7 suicide hotline supporting Ukrainians. It was originally founded to support veterans and their families. You can donate to support their efforts to continue helping people.
Orphans’ Aid Society
For 25 years, this organization has been financially supporting children who have lost one or both of their parents in Ukraine. With an all-volunteer staff, Orphans’ Aid Society operates with very little financial overhead and is able to allocate a significant percentage of every donation directly to children in Ukraine.
Voices of Children
Voices of Children is an organization that helps children cope with the trauma of war. They give children and families psychological psychosocial support along the frontlines of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Donations can be made on their website.
Vostock-SOS is a non-governmental organization founded in 2014 with the mission of providing assistance to victims of military aggression in Ukraine. Volunteers help find shelter for internally displaced persons and assist in the evacuation of people from conflict zones. They also collect and distribute humanitarian aid, such as food, hygiene, first aid, and educational materials.
Supporters can make a donation on their secure website.
Revived Soldiers Ukraine
Revived Soldiers Ukraine is an American-Ukrainian partner organization that provides aid to the people of Ukraine in support of their human rights, as well as medical rehabilitation for Ukrainian soldiers.
Their Next Step Ukraine program has built a neurorehabilitation center in Ukraine for people with brain and spinal cord injuries. Supporters can donate through Patreon, directly on the organization’s website, or through matched-employer donations.
Support the LGBTQ+ community in Ukraine
As community organizer and author Adam Eli tweeted: “In times of war, marginalized people are always hit first. This includes queer people, especially trans people.”
Insight is a Ukrainian public organization providing assistance to LGBTQ+ citizens in the form of advocacy, legal support, psychological support, medical support, education, and community building. The organization recently said they are on “crisis psychological support mode,” urging those seeking help to fill out a consultation form to be connected with mental health assistance.
Supporters can donate to Insight online.
Another LGBTQ+ activism hub, Fulcrum is one of Ukraine’s largest national LGBTQ+ organizations. They work in areas like corporate equality, medical support, and advocacy for civil partnerships — but most relevant during the current crisis is their work supporting LGBTQ+ Ukrainian soldiers, veterans, volunteers, and paramedics.
Support investigative journalism in Ukraine
A crucial aspect of combating corruption is awareness. Slidstvo.info is an investigation agency that works to expose corruption and provide the public with helpful resources when they encounter it. Their investigative program is broadcasted weekly and Slidstvo.info hosts their documentary investigative films.
The Kyiv Independent
The Kyiv Independent is a Ukrainian English language media outlet, created in November 2021 by journalists who were fired from the Kyiv Post for defending editorial independence. Although a new outlet, their team is led by longtime journalists, as they report on war, politics, and business in Ukraine. The Kyiv Independent is funded independently by donors and supporters via Patreon and GoFundMe.
Zaborona Media is an independent media outlet reporting on social trends and culture in post-socialist countries in Eastern Europe, covering challenges faced by societies and individuals fighting for their freedom.
Zaborona means ‘taboo’ in Ukrainian, and their team aims to remove taboo from stories that matter and get to the heart of human rights issues in Eastern Europe, investigating topics such as violations of Ukrainian works’ rights, arms trafficking, and corruption. Folks can support their on-the-ground reporting via Patreon.
UKRPravda News was co-founded in 2000 by Georgiy Gongadze, a prominent journalist and film director who was assassinated the same year. This publication is among the most influential in Ukraine. Reporters break political scoops and unmask officials who abuse their power, pioneering freedom of information in Eastern Europe.
Help animals in Ukraine
Animal welfare organization, IFAW, is rushing emergency aid to two local animal shelters in Donetsk and Gorlovka, Ukraine to provide pet food, veterinary supplies, and wages for daily care staff. IFAW first partnered with these shelters in 2014 and have maintained a relationship since then.
Sirius has helped over 5,000 animals find loving and caring homes. In addition to finding animal housing and carrying out a spay-and-neuter program, they provide low-income families with free basic veterinary services.
Happy Paw is a nonprofit dedicated to solving the problems of homeless animals in Ukraine. The charity helps owners find lost animals, sterilizes domestic animals of people in need & holds lectures on humane treatment of homeless animals for schoolchildren.
More ways to donate to Ukrainians
People around the world are buying digital Etsy products from Ukrainian sellers. You can learn about how to support Ukrainians via Etsy — and the story of one Ukrainian entrepreneur making a difference — in our new article.
Editor's Note: We're actively working on vetting and adding organizations to this section — please continue to check back for more organizations and opportunities to help.
Make a Difference In Your Community
Reach out to a Ukrainian church in your community
Many communities around the world — and in the United States — are home to Ukrainian churches. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA alone has 85 congregations in the United States.
They may have unique ways of supporting people in Ukraine — and will also know of ways to help people who immigrated from Ukraine, who may be grieving or in need of support.
Check this list to see if there’s a church near you, kindly reach out via email or phone, and ask if there’s anything you can do to support their community — both locally and in Ukraine.
Similarly, many synagogues and other communities are finding ways to help. Regardless of your faith, there's likely a house of worship you can reach out to to support.
Look for mutual aid efforts being organized by Ukrainians in your community
We’re keeping an eye out for mutual aid efforts being organized in support of Ukrainians or Ukraine. We’ll update this article as they pop up.
In the meantime, follow activists, leaders, and organizers in your community so you’ll be the first to know about local efforts.
Support refugee programs, in light of the fact that Ukrainians may need to seek refuge in other countries in the near future
Refugee support programs are already severely underfunded in many countries around the world — especially in the United States. These organizations have worked diligently to support Afghan refugees in recent months and will continue to support the needs of new communities as necessary.
You can help them in their efforts to prepare for a possible influx of Ukrainian families needing support by making a donation to an organization in your community.
We’ve actually created the most comprehensive list of refugee organizations in all fifty states. Find your state, pick an organization, and make a donation or sign up as a volunteer.
Make a difference in your sphere of influence
The reality is that the world is filled with injustice — and it’s not possible for even the most empathetic people to take action on every issue. Know that whatever actions you’re taking to help people and improve the world, it matters.
To quote Ursula Wolfe-Rocca:
"It can be overwhelming to witness/experience/take in all the injustices of the moment; the good news is that *they're all connected.* So if your little corner of work involves pulling at one of the threads, you're helping to unravel the whole damn cloth."
So please, make a difference in the ways you can, and trust that others will do the same.
How to help Ukraine without spending money
In addition to being intentional about not sharing misinformation and disinformation, there are other ways you can help Ukrainians without spending any money.
You can also share this guide (by sharing the link to this article) and our Instagram version — to help more people know how to take action in support of Ukraine.
We will continue to update this guide and keep it up-to-date.