Friday, April 30, 2010

Advantages of Monetary Donations

(re-posted from the website of USAID, the principal U.S. agency to extend assistance to countries recovering from disaster)

Monetary donations are the most effective form of assistance because they allow humanitarian organizations to purchase (often within the affected region itself) the exact type and quantity of items needed by those affected by the crisis. Monetary donations therefore have several logistical advantages over commodity contributions:
  • Monetary donations are more cost-effective than commodity contributions, because the cost of international shipping usually exceeds the cost of procuring the commodities within the region.
  • Monetary donations, unlike commodity contributions, do not involve international transportation and handling, which can be very complex and time consuming.
  • Humanitarian organizations can use monetary donations to specifically procure items on a priority-needs basis in the exact quantity and quality require - while commodity contributions often involve use of scare resources (transportation, staff time, warehouse space, etc.) for non-crucial or inappropriate commodities.
  • Commodities procured by humanitarian organizations using monetary donations can be sorted, labeled (in the appropriate language), and packaged in exactly the manner required for storage and distribution and will reach the affected region much quicker than commodity contributions would.
In addition to these logistical advantages, monetary donations to humanitarian organizations also help to ensure that relief efforts contribute to the long-term sustainability and self-reliance of the affected region. This is because commodities that have been procured by humanitarian organizations using monetary donations:
  • are more likely to be culturally and environmentally appropriate, and consistent with traditional practices and consumption patterns
  • support the economy of the affected region when procured locally, thereby contributing to the eventual goal of self-reliance and economic growth

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