Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Disaster aid updates

The Chronicle of Philanthropy* did some quick addition and has identified $8 million in donations to humanitarian groups for recovery from the cyclone in Myanmar and the earthquake in China. The Chronicle's totals are summarized here:
  • "Save the Children has won more than $3-million in pledges and gifts, including $1-million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which also gave $1-million each to CARE and World Vision. Not on Our Watch, a charity established by actors George Clooney and Don Cheadle, among others, to end mass atrocities around the world, has pledged up to $500,000.
  • World Vision has received more than $2.75-million, including the grant from the Gates foundation.
  • Donors have contributed or pledged $1.375-million to the International Rescue Committee.
  • Mercy Corps has received nearly $1-million, including $150,000 from Chevron.
  • Donations to AmeriCares total $300,000.
  • The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee has raised nearly $115,000. Most donors have contributed gifts between $500 and $1,000 to the relief response."
There are other interesting comments and discussions about this coming from the donor-NGO call about Myanmar aid that was held on Monday May 12 (another one is scheduled for May 16) - transcript and information are here, and a commentary on the call from GiveWell founder* is here.

Another thoughtful post on the possibilities for collaboration in times of disaster can be found here, on the Hauser Center's blog, written by Tony Pipa, a very thoughtful philanthropy scholar/consultant, former foundation president, and activist involved in Louisiana disaster recovery.* Tony's two posts looks at models for disaster collaboration and readiness funds (a topic/idea that I believe several community foundations investigated sometime ago - did it go anywhere?)

Here's what I still find surprising - the Chronicle noted large grants to large nonprofits. We still have no running ticker of online gifts through the myriad online giving sites - globalgiving, NetworkforGood, Google's Myanmar cyclone site, or any of the sites buying adwords placements for myanmar disaster relief. Even if we don't get a "ticker" of these gifts, isn't it ironic that the best info we have comes from the Chronicle making phone calls to the big nonprofits and we still don't have any faster, easier, reliable sense of what giving is going where? We can give instantly, but we still can't track that giving.....

Note also that my inquiry regarding Google Checkout and placement for Google searches yielded this comment over on the Nonprofit Tech Blog. Here's the note:

"Check out While I’ve touted Google Checkout for Nonprofits in the past (heck I even use it over at socialmarkets), I believe this is a pretty blatant signal that one should adopt Google Checkout if you want premium placement. That said, Google is matching up to $1 million in donations."

*Fullest disclosures: I've had the honor of presenting at workshops with Tony Pipa and consider him a friend. I subscribe to, read, and occasionally contribute to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. I am on GiveWell's Board.


Network for Good said...

Lucy -- brilliant post and you bring up a good point. I am the Director of Consumer Marketing at Network for Good and quickly wanted to chime in (late sorry).

At Network for Good we love tickers in general; has a running one, our holiday homepage always does and we use them most often with our partner campaigns.

On our disaster pages for Myanmar and China Earthquake, we included a charity badge that displays some of the donations, but in this case it was a challenge to accurately display totals for the respective efforts with a ticker since many of the charities that people supported overlapped and designations needed to be examined for donations through our site and partner websites. I will share that we have processed ~$215K for China and ~$150K for Myanmar.

Down the road, we would welcome an opportunity to share our data in one centralized location.

-Stacie Mann

Lucy Bernholz said...

Thanks for this, Stacie - glad to know that these examples exist. As I sit here I am listening to All Things Considered on NPR, which just ran a letter from a listener about why he/she was not giving to victims of the cyclone - basically, out of concern that the money won't get where it is needed. In this situation, perhaps more than ever, those trying to get funds to rebuild and recovery efforts need to get the news out that doing so is possible.

Lucy Bernholz said...

For the comment above - here is the link to the letter from the erstwhile donor to Burma aid