Since last Sunday, the “Syria is Calling” Facebook group has been flooded with over 17 thousand respondents, mostly generous Icelanders offering rooms, airfare, financial assistance, emotional support, and more to Syrian refugees.

The lesson from this outpouring of Icelandic generosity is clear: private citizens can alleviate the refugee crisis, if their governments let them.

Iceland’s official refugee limit is a just 50 per year. So Bryndís Bjorgvinsdottir, an author and professor, started the Facebook group to highlight the willingness of Icelanders to help Syrian refugees. People around the world took notice and joined the group, expressing solidarity with Icelanders, seeking to help put external pressure on the Icelandic government to expand refugee sponsorship, and asking how to help in their countries.

Individuals and non-governmental organizations around the world are ready and willing to support refugees. Yet their philanthropic efforts are curtailed by legal restrictions on the number of refugees their countries will admit. By increasing the number of refugees legally allowed to enter, countries can assist the world’s most unprotected populations without straining government budgets.

“[P]eople have had enough of seeing news stories from the Mediterranean and refugee camps of dying people and they want something done now,” Bjorgvinsdottir said. The heartening response to the “Syria is Calling” demonstrates global interest in volunteering refugee support.

Icelandic government officials, taking note of the outpouring of support, said they would consider increasing the refugee cap. Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson intends to appoint ministers to address the refugee crises. Welfare Minister Eyglo Hardardottir said he would “explore every avenue available in welcoming more refugees.”

More than 4 million Syrians have fled their home country since 2011. Another 7.6 million are displaced inside the country, according to the U.N., which calls the situation in Syria the worst humanitarian crises in decades. In total, there are more than 60 million refugees worldwide, with half under the age of 18.

The State Department last week announced it will welcome 5,000-8,000 Syrian refugees to the United States in 2016—a jump from the 1,650 Syrians estimated to have been admitted for 2015. The U.S. cap on total refugees is 70,000—a paltry number for a nation with 320 million. Since 1993, U.S. refugee resettlement has been cut in half all while the number of refugees worldwide is higher than it’s been at any since World War II.

Private sponsorship of refugees isn’t unprecedented. From 1987 to 1995, the Private Sector Initiative funded the resettlement costs for over 8,000 refugees, mostly from Cuba via the Cuban American National Foundation. A few Vietnamese and Iranian refugees participated as well. In 1990, these two non-profit organizations privately financed the admission and resettlement of 8,000 Soviet Jews to the U.S.

Canada has been a leader in empowering individuals, community groups, and nonprofit organizations to sponsor refugees. Their Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program has resettled more than 200,000 since 1978. They also feature a sponsorship program that allows funds from the private sector to pay half the costs of the first year of refugee support.

Policymakers and refugee advocates can build on the lessons of successful programs to craft innovative private resettlement initiatives. Even small changes to existing programs can help cultivate robust support structures with the capacity to provide humanitarian assistance to thousands of refugees.

Refugee programs should enable individuals to contribute resources for resettlement costs. Governments should look to offset the costs associated with larger levels of refugee sponsorship by relying more heavily on the private sector. Civil society institutions, such as foundations, churches, charities, mutual-aid societies, and refugee organizations, can all provide financial, educational, and emotional support to refugees. Philanthropic businesses can step up to boost overall funding. Allowing compassionate and charitable individuals and organizations to act will bolster the global support system for refugees and could help millions of displaced and dispossessed people begin to rebuild their lives.

The Icelandic Facebook group is another reminder of the willingness of decent individuals to act selflessly to aid those in danger. Governments should recognize the compassion of its citizens and open the door to private sector funding of refugee sponsorship.