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Haiti earthquake victims lose out

Haiti earthquake victims lose out

Haiti loses out: disappointing response to appeal to UK charities

SOS Children have been been delighted by signatures and support for our campaign for UK charities not to divert money given for Haiti to pay for UK expenses but disappointed that this has not been taken up by other charities.

Despite the strong case that:

  • the UK can do little directly for Haiti
  • charities here had already fixed budgets for next year when the disaster struck
  • UK charities should be spending money on helping there, not advertising here 

no other NGO has so far signed up to our "no deductions for Haiti" pledge. Meanwhile the few who have dismissed the appeal will not surprise anyone:

According to the Third Sector a representative of the Institute of Fundraising (which represents some of the biggest junk mailing charities in the UK, see previous discussion on poor charity practices ) replied that "people generally realise that investing in additional appeals is rightly funded by donations". Notice the language used by the Institute of Fundraising: we are talking about spend on advertising here, which is a cost item not a capital investment. This kind of language is used by Junk Mail companies trying to persuade charities to spend money on junk mail even when they barely recoop the costs. A pity when the Fundraising Standards board is finally showing willingness to try to raise standards that the IoF is defending the status quo.

According to "Philanthropy.com" Direct Mail charity Oxfam have followed the Insitute of Fundraising line. Ian Bray, representative of Oxfam UK, is quoted as saying "there are essential costs outside of Haiti that ensures the operation makes a difference to people's lives." This is not clear to us. Much of Oxfam's Haiti money comes from the DEC which already deducts full fundraising costs before passing the money on to Oxfam. But this seems to be a reference to other costs and deductions and we cannot comment on these additional "essential costs" because we do not know what they are.  

Obviously, SOS Children have costs in the UK too (admittedly nothing like as high as Oxfam's) but we think that all charities should agree not to make any deductions for Haiti. Every donor have spoken to seems to agree with us, so now it is up to you. Send a free Haiti petition ecard to whichever charity you gave to for Haiti and encourage them to match our pledge.