Expert Suggests Pooling Disaster Response Funds

The "scramble for donor dollars" in the aftermath of natural disasters does not always work and needs to be improved, says Saundra Schimmelpfennig. Photo by: Henrik Ström / CC BY-SA

In the aftermath of natural disasters, the humanitarian assistance community usually launches fund-raising drives to support relief efforts. While well-intentioned, this “scramble for donor dollars” does not always work and needs to be improved, an aid expert says.

“There have been a lot of high profile disasters over the past few years, and each disaster brings home the point that the way we fund disasters does not work well,” Saundra Schimmelpfennig says on her blog, “Good Intentions Are Not Enough.”

She proposes creating a centralized funding system similar to the U.K. government’s Disaster Emergency Committee appeal, but an a larger scale. Donors can channel their donations to the fund and disaster-affected countries can draw directly from it based on their need, she suggests.

“This would meet the public’s need to feel that they are helping and give them a way to show solidarity with the disaster victims,” Schimmelpfennig  says. “The money could then be accessed by either the government or a coordinating body to ensure that donations go to where they are most needed rather than to whomever can raise the most. This would potentially help the local organizations get the funding they need and provide a measure of control over nonprofit work.”

Read more development aid news.

About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.