Responsible Donors’ Guidebook
By Hazem Kira

The Pakistan American Democratic Forum (PADF) has issued the following guidebook to encourage responsible, informed, victim-friendly, and goal-oriented giving.

Help People Live – Continue to Give
Learn about the charity that you want to give. You need to find out their overhead expense, service delivery structure in the affected area, number of volunteers and paid staff, area of expertise, policy to accept area / project specific contribution, and willingness to provide periodic progressive reports.

1. Identity of the group. Find out about the group doing the fundraising. How do they plan to disburse the collected funds? Does the group have the ability to take these funds to the quake victims in a direct, speedy, and responsible manner? Or are they collecting it on behalf of some other group or entity? Are they raising these funds on behalf of the President’s Fund or some government functionary? (Recently, funds were raised in Ohio supposedly on behalf of the Edhi Foundation but then passed on to one of the most detested Pakistani minister to help him consolidate his own support base.) Find out who will be distributing funds to whom and how? Are they going send these funds to some friends or relatives to distribute these funds as they deem fit or do they have some kind of an objective system for the proper disbursement of the funds you and others have made available.
2. Accountability/Transparency.

3. Overhead costs – Find out how much money the group plans to keep for its own administrative expenses. These can range from five percent to 50 percent. Many first-time collectors of funds have no track record or even clear notion of their own overhead costs.

4. Service Delivery Structure (SDS) – Do they have a network of volunteers and paid professionals in the affected areas of NWFP and Kashmir? Do their volunteers and paid professionals know the area and have existing facilities – office, clinics, warehouses, supply depots, etc. – in those areas? Only a few Pakistan or US-based charities have any mentionable outreach network in quake-devastated areas.

5. Relief Work Experience – More than 95 of the groups raising funds in the United States don’t have any relief work experience. Now is not the best time for you to underwrite on-the-job-training for someone.

6. Specified Contribution Policy (SCP) – Find out if the group is willing and able to receive area and project specific donations. For example, if you wanted to donate money exclusively for an orphanage in Bagh, will they will be in a position to make and keep that promise?

7. Periodic Progress Reports (PPR) – Is the group willing to provide periodic progress reports?

8. Bureaucracy – How many layers of bureaucracy will control the disbursement of these designated funds and how much discretionary power will these bureaucrats have to control, regulate, and allocate these funds? Will they have the power to withhold, delay, or redirect these funds? (The government of Pakistan is least transparent in this regard).

9. Timeliness - Find out how long would take for the group to get the desired aid to the quake victims.

10. Fragmentation – Ultimately, it’s your money and you can give it to anyone. But giving it in small quantities to large number of disparate groups will fragment the relief and rehabilitation resource pool. It will make it vastly difficult for relief organizations to underwrite major rebuilding projects like schools, hospitals, orphanages and the like.

The matrix below provides a brief overview of major charities in terms of the above values.

Organization
Overhead
SSD
SCP
PPR
NWFP/AJK
Islamic Relief
6 Percent
Yes
Yes
Yes
Edhi
10 Percent
Yes
Yes
Yes
Hidaya
10-15 Percent
Yes
Yes
Yes
Islamic Crescent
6.5 Percent
Yes
Yes
Yes
ICNA
10-15 Percent
Yes
Yes
Yes

 

For more information on this subject visit PADF’s quake-dedicated website at www.voiceofpakistan.net.


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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