The case for more unrestricted funding

By Jenny Lei Ravelo 13 July 2015

A 1,000 rupiah bill. Why should donors give more — or less — unrestricted funding to nonprofits and charities? Photo by: Asian Development Bank / CC BY-NC-ND

Private giving to international causes went down in 2014.

Despite raising $16.2 billion in 2014, the nonprofit sector in the United States saw a drop in giving for causes related to international affairs, according to the 2014 Charitable Giving Report. This was because there were no major disasters and high-profile fundraising events that year, according to the report.

In the same year, individual donations from the U.K. public totaled 10.6 billion pounds ($16.4 billion), according to the Charities Aid Foundation’s latest private giving survey. Overseas giving ranked fourth in the list of causes individuals donated to that year — behind medical research, children’s interests, hospitals and animal welfare.

The U.K.-based charity recalibrated data in this year’s report to take the change in methodology into consideration. Previous surveys were done three times in a year; the 2014 surveys ran four times that year. Based on recalibrated data that has not been adjusted for inflation, donations from the U.K. public dropped nearly 2 percent from 2013’s 10.8 billion pounds total.

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About the author

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Jenny Lei Ravelo@JennyLeiRavelo

Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex senior reporter based in Manila. Since 2011, she has covered a wide range of development and humanitarian aid issues, from leadership and policy changes at DfID to the logistical and security impediments faced by international and local aid responders in disaster-prone and conflict-affected countries in Africa and Asia. Her interests include global health and the analysis of aid challenges and trends in sub-Saharan Africa.


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