DonationsEver wondered how fast your money gets to the intended recipients after natural disasters? Every dollar you donate isn’t going directly to the victims you’re intending to help and here’s why. 

An average of nine cents of every dollar you donate to the Red Cross is covering their expenses, which include employee salaries and other administrative costs.

Now, compared to other charities and NGOs, “that 9% is very low, according to charity evaluator CharityWatch.”
It helps to research each charity first; however, to get the biggest bang for the buck, CharityWatch advises, consumers should donate to charities that use at least 75% of donations for direct aid. The Red Cross, at 91%, is well above that mark.
But not so fast! There are other variables to consider as well.

All too often, the well-intended donations to disaster relief, motivated by emotion, are not as helpful as some would have you believe. Here’s why.

Often, donations take too long to be processed to be of any use on the ground. Source

So, if I donate money to the Red Cross’ Harvey relief a few days after the hurricane, it may take a few weeks for processing. Since the ARC isn’t a medical aid, it has limited functions. What it does best is raise money and provide immediate assistance usually in the form of: blankets, hygiene kits, or temporary shelter. As incredibly destructive as the hurricane was, the needs from what the ARC can provide may be far less than the amount raised as there are only so many cots, blankets and so on to hand out, and so, the funds raised may not get to the intended victims and instead be redirected to other relief efforts at the agencies discretion.

One solution might be to set a fundraising goal amount similar to crowd-sourcing campaigns. Even so, transaction fees can be as much as 5% with another 3% added for credit card processing but this still may be a better alternative as some NGOs state their fundraising goals in advance and cap or redirect donations once they have exceeded those amounts.

Nevertheless, full disclosure should be mandated.

Tags: Hurricane Harvey, donations, disaster relief, red cross, ARC, crowd-sourcing, NGOs, fundraising, natural disaster