Know where you should donate

In the days following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, I could not help but notice the massive efforts to collect relief money, particularly on campus.

While posters and solicitation for fundraising events and charities are common at Laurier, the visible increase following the disaster in Haiti has raised questions about fundraising, donations and what happens to the collected cash.

In many ways, the likelihood of aid being effective in Haiti is in question.

The Wall Street Journal reported in 2009 that over the past 60 years, approximately one trillion dollars have been given in aid to Africa, yet the per capita income is lower today than in the ‘70s due to aid being stolen by corrupt governments.

So, given that Haiti is ranked the 10th most corrupt country on Earth by the Transparency International Corruption Index, one must wonder where the money will go.
Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the squandering and mismanagement of these well-intended donations.

With the sheer scale and pervasiveness of the donation efforts for Haiti, it is easy to draw parallels with the tsunami relief effort for southeast Asia in 2004.

According to a 2009 Inter Press Service article, while more than $14 billion dollars was raised worldwide for tsunami relief, much of the money didn’t reach its intended targets.

In fact, many groups on the ground reported receiving virtually no money; to date, the International Red Cross has spent less then half of the $2.1 billion it received for tsunami relief.
We must monitor the rebuilding of Haiti to ensure that similar issues do not repeat themselves.

On Monday, Canada hosted a meeting in Montreal where world leaders, calling themselves “Friends of Haiti,” met to discuss long term strategies for rebuilding Haiti.

They concluded that a 10-year commitment will be made to make Haiti and its development a priority throughout the world.

Perhaps, with responsible use of these funds, Canada can become known for its efforts of nation building from the ground up.

Students should not be dissuaded from giving money to charities even though the future effectiveness of donations are, at times, uncertain.

On the contrary, the generous outpouring to the Haiti crisis enhances my faith in humanity and its capacity for good. However, it is always critical to do research before donating.

While it is easy to react emotionally to a horrific crisis such as the Haitian earthquake, if your money doesn’t get there in the end, it really doesn’t matter what you give.

What are some good charities?

Doctors Without Borders (U.S. Chapter)
Offers emergency medical care
Revenues: $161,446,238
Expenses: $153,010,716
Excess: $8,435,522
Executive director salary:
$115, 640

Convoy of Hope
Specializes in disaster relief, outreach events and long-term empowerment programs
Revenue: $33,794,967
Expenses: $30,407,033
Excess: $3,387,934
President salary: $62,011

Direct Relief International
Provides aid in response to emergency and refugee populations.
Revenue: $198,774,098
Expenses: $226,715,576
Deficit: $-27,941,478
President salary: $280,782

Water Missions International
Provides clean, safe water to people in developing countries and disaster zones.
Revenue: $4,720,304
Expenses: $4,042,062
Excess: $678,242
Chief Executive Salary: $101,257

*All information from