GHA is releasing a new report today: Private funding: An emerging trend in humanitarian donorship. Over the past three years, GHA has worked to understand the volume of private money in the humanitarian system and how it is used. We have done this by studying the role that delivery agencies play in mobilising private support to humanitarian crises. For people in need, delivery agencies are the fundamental component in the humanitarian assistance chain, and very often the only recognisable face of international support. They also marshal and implement the vast majority of private support for international aid. This report examines private funding trends in recent years and presents revised data from our own previous research.
At a time when many government donor budgets are feeling the squeeze from the economic crisis, the levels of private voluntary contributions in humanitarian donorship are showing no such signs. Nearly a quarter (24%) of the international humanitarian response for the period 2006 to 2010 came from private voluntary contributions, amounting to at least US$18 billion. Private funding as a share of the total humanitarian response grew from 17% in 2006 to 32% in 2010.
This trend has not escaped aid agencies, which are paying special attention to private donors. Regular fundraising campaigns in the media, through the post or face to face are a familiar feature in most developed countries. Moreover, the economic crisis of the past four years has prompted aid organisations to intensify their collaboration with private donors. For many organisations, private money is the answer to the dilemma of how to keep responding to the growing number of aid challenges when there are limited government resources available.
Major humanitarian crises in the past decade have prompted unprecedented amounts of private donations: the tsunami that caused widespread devastation across the Indian Ocean in December 2004 saw US$3.9 billion raised in private aid; the response to the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti generated at least US$1.2 billion in contributions from the general public; and US$450 million was channelled in response to the 2010 floods in Pakistan. While global private support to large-scale emergencies is relatively easy to gauge, it remains unclear how much private money is out there in any given year.
However, if private support to humanitarian aid is here to stay and the system is becoming increasingly reliant on this source of funding, it is imperative that we are able to gain as clear a picture as possible about its volume, and more importantly, its use. After all, the volume of funding is only one part of the picture. Not every dollar of humanitarian aid can be used in the same way, nor will each dollar have the same impact on the ground. Therefore, it is critical that we are able to start systematically assessing the effectiveness of private funding in responding to humanitarian needs and tackling vulnerability.
You can view, download, or print the report here. I