Friday, March 4, 2022

How Donations Are Flowing to Ukraine, Through Both Charities and Other Channels

DownloadUPDATE: Beth Gazley (Indiana University), who studies nonprofits and particularly giving during disasters, has a good piece at The Conversation with pointers for giving wisely to help Ukrainians (How to responsibly donate to Ukrainian causes). And the Charity Commission for England and Wales has issued a Statement on Ukraine crisis and its implications for charities with both similar advice and issues relating to Russian charities in light of financial sanctions.

The speed with which events have moved in Ukraine, the firehose of information about the Russian invasion, and the fog of war make it difficult to get an even close to complete understanding of how donations are flowing to help Ukrainians and the role of charities in providing assistance. Nevertheless, some data points are emerging.

The deluge of media and social media attention appears to be generating a strong stream of  donations. As reported by the Chronicle of Philanthropy (‘It’s Not Like Anything I’ve Ever Seen': Aid Groups Report Overwhelming Donor Response for Ukraine), charities with experience and ties to Ukraine are seeing a surge in donations that at least initially is much higher than what occurred with other recent humanitarian crises. Several charities reported inflows to help Ukrainians in the millions of dollars just over the first six days since the invasion began on February 24th. The Washington Post reports (What people are donating to Ukraine and its refugees: Crypto, ammo, pet food and cash) that not only cash but also goods ranging from flour to pet food to ammunition are flowing to Ukrainians. And these private efforts are on top of the supplies and funds coming from governments, including an expected $6.4 billion in emergency aid for the region from the United States.

Thanks to the Internet and especially social media, donors can quickly identify the established charities that are most involved in helping Ukrainians. As early as February 25th, NPR reported (Want to support the people in Ukraine? Here's how you can help) on charities with programs already in place to help Ukrainians. See also this list from the Washington Post. And GoFundMe has established the Ukraine Humanitarian Fund that makes grants to charities identified in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State, GlobalGiving, and others.

Ukrainians are also themselves establishing avenues for individuals and businesses to provide support. These range from funding humanitarian supplies for the Armed Forces of Ukraine through the National Bank of Ukraine, a GoFundMe campaign to support the Ukrainian media, and English-language campaigns by individual institutions such as the Ukrainian Catholic University.

Businesses are being creative in how they can provide support to Ukrainians. The above Washington Post story includes accounts of a Polish optician provided free eyeglasses and an Italian watch dealer giving the proceeds from the auction of a vintage Russian timepiece. In addition, Airbnb announced it will offer free, short-term housing for up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees. And of course this support is on top of businesses reconsidering their ties to Russia and Belarus, and particularly to state-owned enterprises and wealthy allies of Vladimir Putin.

Individuals are also being creative in how they get support to Ukrainians. For example, some individuals are renting Ukrainian Airbnbs that they have no intention of ever staying in to get funds quickly to their Ukrainian owners. Coverage: The Guardian; Today Show; USA Today. As this Twitter feed about this effort demonstrates, this method of donating is creating direct connections to individual Ukrainians that giving to charities, no matter how worthy, mostly lack.

Lloyd Mayer

In the News, International | Permalink


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