Did you know that large donations for disaster relief aid often take weeks and months to arrive in the disaster zone? 🤔
Generous governments publicly pledge millions to help people affected by disasters. However, by the time donations are officially approved and help is sent to the disaster zone often weeks and months have passed.
2017 Rohingya Refugee crisis: As an example, following the massive influx of Rohingya refugees into Bangladesh starting 25 August 2017, aid organizations had to wait seven (7) full days until first government donations trickled in. Even two weeks after the influx commenced, only 1.4 percent of the estimated humanitarian assistance had been mobilized.
Not only does it take months for help to arrive, often government pledges are further delayed or withdrawn, leaving those in desperate need of help with empty hands. This year, the humanitarian funding gap as of mid-2017 was baffling 85% ($3bn). In other words, 86 million out of the 101.2 million people in need of humanitarian assistance globally will not receive the life-saving support they require. And we don’t do anything about it.
2017 Rohingya Refugee crisis: As of 25 November 2017, some three months into the refugee crisis, a funding gap of 65.7 percent ($285m) remains. Experts say that it’s unlikely that the required help will be mobilized, hence thousands of Rohingya refugees will be left behind.
Over the past years, the number of natural disasters and humanitarian crises has continued to increase, drawing forth a need for new funding sources. Looking ahead, the widening gap between the number of affected people and sufficient resources will be the greatest challenge facing the humanitarian relief system.
Crowdfunding has the potential to disrupt traditional relief aid.
‘Donation-based crowdfunding’ or ‘crowdsourced philanthropy’ draws people together behind a belief, a project, or an emergency to share resources and contributions. Crowdsourced philanthropy provides a socially connected method, not only to raise life-saving funds but also to create awareness and loyalty to a certain cause. Donation-based crowdfunding is particularly successful as it provides us with the feeling of being part of something bigger, a feeling of community, participation, and ownership.
Micro-donations are the latest disruption in the giving space. With the technological revolution making small, affordable payments accessible and convenient, micro-donations can mobilize significant amounts to complement traditional fundraising. With the power of the crowd, we can help the 86 million people in need of humanitarian assistance currently left behind. Until now, most humanitarian NGOs source their support from government aid, large foundations, and philanthropists. Micro-donations are a way towards sustainably funding relief aid, ingraining giving at a grassroots level by allowing donors to donate small amounts ($1 — $10).
Philanthropy doesn’t have to be about thick wallets, it can be about the power of social networks — small donations add up #microgiving
The concept of microgiving is an old one. Consider the “spare change” collection boxes at supermarket checkouts and airports. Those boxes collected significant amounts over past decades. However, with credit cards and mobile payments, those boxes slowly disappeared. In parallel, online and mobile giving is growing fast. 17% of online donations in 2016 were made on a mobile device, according to Blackbaud Institute’s fifth annual Charitable Giving Report. Think of microgiving as 21st-century collection boxes.
Social media sharing and social media based giving campaigns are a powerful tool to fast-track mobile giving. Fundraisers can virtually be shared with millions of people in seconds — at basically no cost. Think of the ALS ice bucket challenge in summer 2014, which raised $ 113 million within a few weeks.
How OneRelief helps solve the challenge of slow and insufficient relief aid:
- OneRelief directly forwards donations to recipient NGOs. As international funds are often only released in the days, weeks and months following a disaster, micro-donation crowdfunding can play an important role in bridging the time until international funds are arriving, covering expenses for life-saving early-recovery operations.
- The ability to donate from mobile phones changes the landscape of how we give. With a target audience of 2 billion smartphone users who use their phone for mobile payments globally, we can spark a social giving movement by offering a one-stop-shop mobile platform for giving, sharing, and tracking of relief aid.
- Lower transaction fees make it more efficient to collect micro-donations and immediately get them to the communities in need. PayPal charges as little as $.15 on a micro-donation of $2.00. Traditionally transaction fees for the same donations used to be $.35 and more. Micro-donations remove any possible economic barrier of a donation, allowing everyone to help and do good.
- Providing the public with a tool to translate their empathy into action by making a small donation, crowdfunding can raise life-saving funding in the all-important early hours after a disaster has struck.
© Noah Madden & Peter Prix