Helping Haiti: The Email Community Response

By Neil Schwartzman
Neil Schwartzman

It is inconceivable that anyone within viewing distance of a television or computer screen this week doesn't know about the disaster in Haiti. As of this writing, 50,000 bodies have been collected from the streets of Port-au-Prince. Millions of people, a number our brains simply aren't equipped to deal with, are now homeless.

Help is needed now, and will be, for a very long time. In response, the immediate and continuing outpouring of generosity from individuals, companies and organizations, and governments has been astounding. The outpouring has relied on the Internet and mobile phones to facilitate donations. And, along with it, predictably, came scum attempting to defraud people with fake charities, posting links to Twitter and the inevitable spammed campaigns.

Another matter that may be interfering with charities and relief organizations to do their work are spam filters and blacklists. Unfortunately, the reality is that some charities are better at fund-raising and helping people than following email best practices, and despite the fundamental nature of their work, their IPs have ended up blocked, or they are not getting the delivery they need, particularly at this time of crisis.

So, what can we do as a community to assist them?

Receivers, Filtering Services & DNSBLs

Please, Whitelist the IPs (and domains) of any charity known to be assisting in the Haitian relief effort.

Yes, I know, they might be sending lousy mail streams, lots of bounces, trap hits, etcetera. I suggest that for the next while, for whatever period of time you are comfortable, you turn a blind eye to that, instead, please cast wide-open eyes to the big picture. People, human beings like you and me need, the world's help and you can play an integral part in that effort.


If you are an ESP or ASP that is handling traffic for charities or other agencies involved in the relief effort, drop me an email to and I will list them on my blog, so others can use that information.


I have a long list of charities, gleaned from a few trusted sources. If you can spend a little time digging around to find outbound IPs to add to the list, that would be great. Again,

Anyone & Everyone

If you can think of anything beyond these measures I've suggested, I'm all ears and would happily post it here. And, of course, please donate money. I know times are tough, many of our colleagues are hard-pressed, laid-off or even fired, so those of us who can afford it, please be extra-generous in your cash donations.

Thanks for considering being a part of this. The Haitian motto, on their flag is "L'union fait la force" (Unity is strength). Let's pull together to make this happen.

By Neil Schwartzman, Executive Director, The Coalition Against unsolicited Commercial Email - CAUCE. Visit the blog maintained by Neil Schwartzman here.

Related topics: Cybercrime, Cybersecurity, Domain Names, Email, Spam


We Had To Turn Back - Wise Decision Beth Charette  –  Jan 17, 2010 9:43 AM PST

We had to give up on our efforts to help in Haiti.

Frankly, had we succeeded in getting there, we would probably have become part of the problem.

Working vehicles are at a minimum.

And, food, medicine and other essentials are being supplied by the military as they try to walk around disorganized civilians attempting to HELP!