Improving Relief Distribution, Coordination After Disasters Worldwide

This Entry has been submitted.

Improving Relief Distribution, Coordination After Disasters Worldwide

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

You want to donate to disaster relief but don't trust advertising on TV? Check this independent info before you decide.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Over the past several years, climate change has increased the severity of storms and other natural hazards, resulting in calamitous disasters such as record-breaking earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, New Zealand, the tsunami that led to Japan’s nuclear tragedy, Pakistan floods, and the on-going drought in the horn of Africa. There is no question that donations are critical to save lives and alleviate suffering. Currently, a generous public must choose between hundreds of aid organizations using emotional appeals, generic anecdotes, and their brand recognition to solicit donations. As a result, billions of dollars in donations are not allocated based on the ability or capacity of organizations to deliver critical services. Many humanitarian organizations are operating in poverty, natural disaster, and conflict stricken regions across the globe without unified, independent standards for transparency, accountability, and oversight. Billions of individual, corporate, foundation, and even public dollars lack the most basic independent oversight.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

DAP seeks to improve the effectiveness of humanitarian aid and disaster relief by empowering the public to make more informed decisions about where to direct critical resources and facilitating better coordination between organizations delivering life-saving services. DAP is building a high value website/clearinghouse of factual information about the activities of humanitarian/aid organizations to better inform those considering donating after disasters occur. Website visitors will be able to easily differentiate organizations that are more active and transparent. The availability and use of such information will generate public demand for more transparency and influence the redistribution of hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars donated to relief efforts. The information will also allow organizations to better coordinate, and reduce both wasteful duplication and deadly gaps in services. Instead of relying on emotion-based advertising, the public will be able to use hard data, such as the number of medical units deployed or the number of meals distributed daily, and where, when deciding how to donate to disaster relief or humanitarian aid.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

DAP is developing an online clearinghouse of factual data about the activities of humanitarian/aid and relief groups operating in disaster-stricken areas. The database will allow the public to use Information such as how long organizations have been operating in each particular region, the scale and scope of their operations, how much they have raised and spent, and how many staff each group has on the ground when deciding how much to give. Currently, this information is buried in websites that feature pictures, blog stories, and emotional appeals that are limited in factual details. As a result, the public may be generously and unknowingly donating to groups not present and their resources may not used for months or years. Hundreds of millions of dollars donated after the Haiti earthquake were either not used efficiently or languished in the organizations’ bank account unused while conditions deteriorated and thousands died of cholera. Groups that report more frequently on their activities will rise to the top of the site. Groups that do not report regular factual details of their activities will appear less transparent. Ultimately, DAP will use information received to do site visits and, with more information, on-the-ground evaluations of effectiveness.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There is no obvious peer or competitor providing independent oversight of disaster relief and humanitarian aid. The nonprofit sector has a number of organizations that provide very general fiscal and governance oversight, such as Guidestar, Charity Navigator, and the Better Business Bureau. However, these organizations, unlike Disaster Accountability Project, do not provide programmatic oversight. Disaster relief and humanitarian aid organizations are notorious for paying others to provide some form of “oversight.” Unlike Disaster Accountability Project, organizations like Interaction and Humanitarian Accountability Partnership are member-based organizations too conflicted to provide independent oversight.
About You
Disaster Accountability Project
About You
About Your Organization
Organization Name

Disaster Accountability Project

Organization Country
Country where this project is creating social impact
How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

Select the stage that best applies to your solution

Idea (you're poised to launch)

How long have you been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Social Impact
FOUNDING STORY: We want to hear about your “Aha!” moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution’s potential to change the world.

After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, many friends and colleagues asked to which organization they should donate. It was clear that millions of people were willing to generously donate yet very few had a clear idea of where. Many wondered which organizations were best suited to respond, had a good track-record, and were most effective. Most reported donating based on emotional advertising, brand recognition, and friends’ suggestions. Surely, better information and a “trusted” independent source for facts could help the public make more informed decisions. It was clear that humanitarian/aid and relief organizations were not coordinating effectively and this information might also enhance the effectiveness of aid. We released reports on the transparency of relief efforts, generating tremendous interest in Haiti and around the globe. The media, decision-makers, U.N., donors, and survivors alike utilized the reports to learn what groups claimed to be doing in Haiti.

Specify both the depth and scale of your solution’s social impact to date

DAP released two reports in the past year on the activities of nearly 200 humanitarian groups in Haiti, including the amounts of money raised/spent, types of services provided, and number of staff on the ground. A Haitian civil service worker remarked that our report marked the first time in the year since the earthquake that he saw information about what organizations were doing in his country.

This initiative stands to benefit millions of people affected by disaster around the world every year. The information will empower the public to make more informed decisions and direct their resources to groups that have the greatest capacity to deliver critical life-saving services.

The clearinghouse will also provide information that will prove valuable to the humanitarian/aid and relief community as factual details about each organization’s activities will enhance coordination and cooperation and reduce wasteful duplication in services and deadly gaps.

What is your projected impact within the next 1-5 years? Is your idea replicable? If so, how?

DAP aims to become a global resource for individuals wishing to support humanitarian/aid and relief organizations after global disasters. We also hope that our clearinghouse will create a stronger public demand for information about the activities of relief organizations and the use of donated dollars in all aspects of humanitarian relief. Increased transparency in the humanitarian/aid and relief sector will improve the quality of services delivered, save lives, and reduce waste. Ultimately, we hope to rebuild public confidence and additional support for international humanitarian aid activities, especially given the reality that natural disasters are growing more fierce.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and mark growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

The website is in development. In six months, the website will be in beta testing with few relief operations included.

Six-Month Tasks
Task 1

Complete website design and programming. Currently in-progress with talented pro-bono designer engaged.

Task 2

Survey hundreds of humanitarian/aid and relief organizations about their operations in additional countries.

Task 3

Recruit additional interns to add information and manage clearinghouse data and updates. 15 interns were engaged summer of 2011.

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Obtain significant public exposure and document impact of factual information on resource distribution after disasters.

12-Month Tasks
Task 1

Obtain funds to hire a full-time program manager responsible for upkeep and expansion of clearinghouse and volunteer management.

Task 2

Share data with organizations like Guidestar so information can reach wider audiences. Conversations have already begun.

Task 3

Implement revenue model that maintains project’s independence from humanitarian aid/relief sector.

How many people have been impacted by your project?

More than 10,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

Explain how your company, program, service or product is structured


What barriers have hindered the success of your project to date? How do you plan to overcome these and other challenges as you grow your solution?

The greatest barrier to our project has been lack of funds necessary to design and implement a website on this scale. Thankfully, several skilled pro-bono website designers and programmers have offered us their support in creating and installing a professional and attractive layout that will scale upwards with the amount of traffic we receive.

How do you see the information-technology and media sectors shifting over the next decade? How will your solution adapt to and/or drive that changing environment?

The internet has proven to be an amazingly effective method of proliferating information and news concerning disaster-stricken areas and disaster relief. DAP is building upon that history and using the internet to spread information that will allow people to make informed decisions regarding their support of disaster relief. DAP will use the internet to hold humanitarian organizations accountable for their life-saving responsibilities.

Failure is not always an option. If your solution fails to gain traction in the next two years, what other applications of the idea could you explore?

If the relief oversight clearinghouse failed to generate measurable impact, will continue to release additional reports and adapt our plans accordingly. We firmly believes that information about the services and effectiveness of humanitarian groups should be available to the public, so we would continue to provide that information to the fullest extent possible.

Expand on your selections, explaining how you will sustain funding

DAP will continue to solicit individual donations and apply for foundation grants. DAP is also recruiting additional board members. As this project grows, we will explore revenue generation opportunities that maintain the project’s independence.

Tell us about your partnerships

Every year, we benefit from the support of hundreds of volunteers and interns. We have a strong relationship with Crisis Camp community. We also hope to work with other programs like Guidestar so the information collected has a wider reach.

What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section?

For now, our team is mainly volunteer and we have achieved significant impact with the help of volunteers and interns. We are working to raise organizational resources to support additional staff positions.

Changemakers is a collaborative and supportive space. Please specify any community resources you would need to grow and sustain your initiative. Select all that apply

Investment, Human resources or talent, Marketing or media, Research or information, Collaboration or networking, Innovation or ideas, Mentorship.

Specify any resources you might offer to support other initiatives. Select all that apply

Human resources or talent, Collaboration or networking, Innovation or ideas, Mentorship.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren’t specified within the list
Define your company, program, service or product in 1-2 short sentences

Donate to disaster relief-but donate wisely! See what groups are on ground and active before donating!