Time after time, in the months and years that follow major disasters, we hear familiar stories about how relief did not reach those who needed it most. The same questions are asked each time, everywhere: Where did the money go? Why couldn’t we help survivors sooner? When will survivors feel the generosity of the outpouring of charitable support that followed the disaster? Despite large amounts of money pouring in and millions of people worldwide donating, aid is never enough. Where does the problem lie?
Very often after a disaster strikes, wrong organizations tend to raise the most money. People donate to bigger “trust-worthy” names in the hopes that their aid will reach disasters. Emotional appeals often attract audience, resulting in wrong organizations raising money. Instead of understanding an organization’s capacity and the ability to respond to a particular disaster, people generally donate to more familiar organizations. Groups that raise the most money often have limited capacity to respond when compared to local entities that are often starved for cash when they need it most. This dynamic also reduces the likelihood of a successful and efficient relief and recovery effort and hinders the ability of local CSOs and NGOs to invest in preparedness and mitigation of future hazards.
It is time for us to think what really matters and stop millions and millions of dollars from going to organizations that don’t deserve it. For aid to reach those who need it most, we need to challenge and question the process of raising donations to ensure help reaches those who need it most.