Americans respond to these tragedies by giving, because we can give. It's a good thing. When these disasters occur, we are encouraged to give to the Red Cross, and many do. Sadly, the Red Cross is not the best choice to deliver more of your dollars to directly help individuals. Their administrative costs are disproportionately high and they don't commit the funds you send to direct aid of that disaster. Thinking about donating through Wyclef Jean's Charity, Yele? Think again. Last year they spent only 73% on programs and the rest on administrative costs.
The best choice for helping the people of Haiti are the groups who offer direct aid and have a demonstrated good stewardship of donated funds in the past, groups like Direct Relief International, that use 98% of their funds for direct aid programs. Or consider a local group like Haitian Health Foundation, which is already providing services in Haiti. There's a list of top-rated charities on Charity Navigator, which provides information about how charities are handling their finances and the kind of services they provide.
Give, but make an informed gift.