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Disasters overseas - how to help

Charity regulators have been urging the public to donate to registered charities and avoid fraudsters, who have been actively setting up look-alike charity appeals and siphoning off the cash the public think they are donating to a good cause at home, or more frequently for a disaster overseas.

Charity regulators have been urging the public to donate to registered charities and avoid fraudsters, who have been actively setting up look-alike charity appeals and siphoning off the cash the public think they are donating to a good cause at home, or more frequently for a disaster overseas. The Charity Commission and Fundraising Regulator have said that by supporting registered charities the public can be certain that donations will be regulated in line with charity law. 

In relation to overseas crises, where the country affected does not have the capacity to respond, one way that the public and firms can be sure that their cash gets where it should be going, is to donate through, or work with the Disasters Emergency Committee or DEC.  The DEC, which was set up in 1963 brings together 15 leading UK aid charities to raise funds quickly and efficiently at times of crisis overseas.  Sometimes a proportion of the money raised will be match funded by the British Government. 

The DEC pools resources and is pivotal in co-ordinating the UK public’s response to overseas disasters. They collaborate with a Rapid Response Network of national media and corporate partners, and can quickly raise the alarm to the UK public by launching high-profile appeals and setting up easy ways for them to donate.

Sadly, in the last year their work has been much needed with appeals in relation to the life and death situations in Ukraine; the Pakistan Floods and now the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.  They are also continuing to monitor the situation in East Africa according to their appeal criteria. Their members charities, which include the Red Cross, Islamic Relief, CAFOD, Save the Children and Oxfam, then scale up their operations on the ground to deliver help to people who need it, fast.  

The corporate partners that the DEC works with are pivotal, and these include a number of building societies such as Leeds and Skipton. Others are helping direct donations to the DEC such as Nationwide and Monmouthshire.  Partners can work with the DEC to:

  1. Amplify the reach of the appeal to their customers; mention the appeal on their website, display posters in branch, and post on social media.
  2. Fundraise – by setting up a dedicated account where customers can donate in branch, create an online fundraising page where they can make donations, or ask the DEC to create a bespoke text code.
  3. Notify their employees of the appeal; send around the appeal film and provide information on how they can support.
  4. Match customer and colleague donations with a pledge from the company which has been proven to encourage giving. 

Other ideas can be found here

More information on the work of the DEC can be found at dec.org.uk 

Anyone who’d like to speak to the DEC is very welcome to email partnerships@dec.org.uk

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