Friday, January 15, 2010

Thinking about donating?

There have been some great posts put up about donating to the earthquake in Haiti. Having fielded way too many ridiculous phone calls from people about donating goods to disasters (seriously, 27kg of campervanning magazines!!!) when I worked at ACFID, I would like to share my two cents on why you should donate cash, and not be tempted to start collecting tins of food or blankets, or campervanning magazines:
  • cash allows aid agencies to procure the goods that are actually needed
  • cash ensures that these procured goods are appropriate to the diet, environment and culture of the community
  • there are no transportation costs involved with cash (which in the case of goods can be more than the donation is worth)
  • cash can be transferred almost instantaneously, thereby not using up warehouse space or logistics staff time
  • using cash in emergencies supports the local economy (this of course has a down side as the market can rapidly inflate...)
  • your cash donation allows aid agencies to operate. While we'd all love to think that 100% of our donation goes into buying rice or tarps or medicines, some of your money may be used to purchase oil for generators or to set up a telecoms system for the agency...things that are absolutely necessary for agencies to actually get out there and distribute the rice or tarps or medicines etc.
Also, as I said in my twitter feed, make sure you donate to a reputable organisation - see the links at the top of this post for more information on selecting an agency to donate to.

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