Donation Policies

Unlike many other nonprofit organizations, Direct Relief does not rely on any funding from government grants. Support comes entirely from private individuals, associations, foundations, and businesses who entrust Direct Relief with resources so that it can fulfill its humanitarian mission.

Direct Relief’s donation policy ensures that 100 percent of all designated contributions for specific programs or emergency responses are used only on expenses related to supporting that program or response.

All fundraising costs are absorbed by the organization in order to honor the intent of donors who restricted their contributions while ensuring disaster victims receive the fullest measure of assistance possible.

By clarifying that Direct Relief may use your contribution wherever most needed, you allow the organization to strengthen the long-term health systems that are vital to vulnerable people around the world and respond to emergencies that do not receive widespread attention. Direct Relief commits to spend your money in the most productive, efficient way possible.

If you wish to restrict the use of your donation only for a specific purpose or area, Direct Relief will honor that wish or inform you that it cannot and offer to return your contribution. Direct Relief has not and will not collect money for what may appear to be a specific incident or purpose with the intention of using it for other purposes.

Have a question about donating? Read our Donation FAQ or contact us for answers.

 

A New Way to Give

As described in the New York Times, Direct Relief’s new donation interface aims to increase transparency and provide more control and flexibility when making a gift.

With the sliders on the donation page, you can either permit Direct Relief to use your gift with maximum flexibility to provide assistance or decide exactly how your gift is allocated among Direct Relief’s various program activities, including specific emergencies, events, or projects, as well as for work in the U.S. or internationally.

Gifts that allow for flexibility are generally most helpful because they enable adjustments to be made as circumstances change. However, this new approach reflects the simple fact that some people intend their contributions to be used for a particular purpose, area, or group of people. And, for Direct Relief to honor that intent, it must be possible for donors to express it.

Because all Direct Relief’s efforts are supported by charitable gifts, every contribution is important and deeply appreciated.

Please share any feedback you may have and, if you need assistance, please email or call (800) 676-1638.

Also, if you prefer Direct Relief’s original donation page, you can still access it here.

 

Donation Policies for Emergencies

Direct Relief’s policy ensures that 100 percent of all designated contributions for specific programs or emergency responses are used only on expenses related to supporting that program or response. Policies exist for all of Direct Relief’s disaster responses, including responses to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Hurricanes Sandy, Katrina, and Rita, and earthquakes in Ecuador, Nepal, Japan, Haiti, Pakistan, Peru, China, and Chile.

Direct Relief believes this is appropriate for honoring precisely the clear intent of generous donors who responded to these tragedies and to preserve the maximum benefit for the survivors for whose benefit the funds were entrusted to Direct Relief.

Direct Relief practices have long recognized the importance of enabling donors to communicate their intentions regarding donations and explaining how the organization carefully accounts for and uses designated contributions to honor the donors’ intentions. Direct Relief takes several steps to ensure that both donors’ intentions and the organization’s use of contributions are clear.

Ensuring Donor Intent
To ensure that donors have the ability to communicate their intention regarding a gift, Direct Relief’s online donation page is equipped with sliders that provide the donor with maximum flexibility to provide instruction for how a donation is to be allocated among Direct Relief’s various program activities, including specific emergencies. Other methods of contributions, such as by check or wire transfer that include a notation in the check memo line or accompanying correspondence also will be considered as instruction to restrict the gift for particular program activities.

Detailed Accounting for Emergency Funds
An internal fund is created with all designated contributions, and all expenditures related to emergency response are recorded for both internal management and external reporting purposes. Independently audited financial statements are prepared and published annually, but Direct Relief will share current information on its website as events unfold regarding programmatic activities and expenditures.

No Emergency Funds are Used for Fundraising Expenses
100% of Direct Relief’s fundraising expenses are paid by a bequest. This means that no portion of any emergency contribution (or any other contribution) will be used for fundraising purposes.

What Restricted Funds May be Used For
Emergency contributions will be used only for emergency-related programmatic costs and administrative expenses directly related to the emergency response activity. Programmatic costs include those related to purchasing, storing, transporting, and distributing essential medical material to affected areas and the costs of programmatic staff and related travel for emergency relief-assistance functions. Directly-related administrative expenses include credit-card processing fees associated with the receipt of emergency contributions; accounting fees associated with managing emergency funds; postage related to issuing receipts to emergency donors; banking fees related to wire transfers of emergency donations; warehousing and packaging of medical material; and IT support costs that are necessary to conduct emergency-related programmatic activity (such as inventory management of medical material being provided in the relief effort).

General, unrestricted financial support is essential for Direct Relief to fulfill any of its deeply compelling humanitarian activities, including being able to respond rapidly to any emergency. Such unrestricted contributions always are needed, deeply appreciated, and enable Direct Relief to assist people in many places and situations that do not make the news.

However, Direct Relief is obligated to—and will always—honor the intent of a donor-designated financial contribution. If a donor were to make a clearly restricted gift for a purpose or with a restriction that Direct Relief is not able to fulfill or comply with, Direct Relief will advise the donor of this situation and inquire if other uses may be permitted. In the event that a donor’s intent cannot be met by Direct Relief, the organization would offer to direct the gift to another nonprofit that would be able to fulfill the donor’s intent or return the gift.

 

Learn more about Direct Relief’s past disaster donation policies:

Nepal Earthquake

Ebola Outbreak

Typhoon Haiyan

Haiti Earthquake

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami