Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Relief and Reconstruction - Donation Guidelines (Part 2)

"There's a sucker born every minute." I am not sure who to attribute this phrase to but there is a song going by this catchy yet sobering phrase. If one is taken for a ride due to one's greed it is just desserts. But how about those cheated for being compassionate, soft in the heart and wanting to help. Therefore, part with your money only after doing a due diligence. In cyberspace and the world of PayPal more suckers will be born every minute! Here are some guidelines before donating:

1. Know the organization. Who is in the Board? It is not enough knowing someone inside or check their website. Check whether it is incorporated. The easiest part to see to whom a cheque is written. A personal name or an entity? Never issue a cheque to a personal name.

2. Work the network. Verify using landlines. Ask for referees and testimonials. Check their track records. Check the name of the place and the face.

Newly built houses in Aceh for the homeless - Picture taken a year after tsunami
3. Know its values. What is its vision and mission? You should agree with it. If you do not agree with their social agenda or political activism find another one. Are they fighting for human rights or serving to alleviate human suffering?

4. Know its operational expectations and their KPIs. Example: 10% of donation will go to operations and administration. All money should be on the ground within a month. How they allocate resources?

5. Know the reporting system. What kind of updates and in what regularity will you be getting it? Too much reporting will raise the administrative costs. The key is sufficient information in a timely manner.

Some were still living in tents a year after the tsunami in Aceh.
Wwhere was the reconstruction aid?
6. Who are their 'ground zero' local partners? Do they having good relationship with the government of the day and local officials? I work with a friend whose network includes the ability to get seats and cargo space in a C-130 military plane to get to the disaster zone. Another knows the Minister in another country. The Myanmar situation illustrates this point. The Western world were held up due to political differences. MERCY was on the ground in a jiffy. WorldVision was already inside and just expanded on their work.

7. Above all else be generous.

1 comment:

backStreetGluttons said...

donation is supposed to be a sympathetic act but has been grossly abused small and big ! then also maybe for personel motive like publicity etc. Greed is still stronger than kindness huh ?