09 Jun How Red Cross Issues Hurt Others Who Help
Monkey Do Project’s Executive Director Jacqueline Wilson recently wrote a piece for The Huffington Post.
If you think of a disaster relief organization, the first one that comes to mind is probably the Red Cross, right? In fact, many people give to this trusted organization — including myself — because what better way to help others in an emergency than with a large, well-known organization that can mobilize forces quickly and have a great impact. Right?
Well, maybe not.
When the news of the Red Cross’ alleged misuse of funds for Haiti came to light, I felt sick to my stomach. I had given to this fund … numerous times, as a matter of fact. Like many, I wanted to be part of the solution that helped rebuild a community and make sure that these families had their most basic needs met — food, clean water, clothing and somewhere to live. Surely the $500 million in donations to the Red Cross for Haiti relief could make a great impact for these people.
Well, as it turns out, that $500 million built exactly six homes.
As I learned more about how the Red Cross diverted funds, my feelings of disappointment turned to anger. These issues not only affect the Red Cross, but they put an extra burden on small nonprofits like mine. When large nonprofits make mistakes, people start to think “if we can’t trust big nonprofits, then we can’t trust anyone” and they stop giving. Period.
The issues of large, well-known nonprofits mean that smaller nonprofits have to work extra hard to prove our worth. And, we don’t have the resources of large nonprofits — we don’t have the lobbyists or the marketing money or the staff to clean up the messes of others. Many small nonprofits are all volunteer organizations (or take very small salaries) so that a very large percentage of our donations go directly to helping our cause.