June 2015: A CRITICAL LOOK AT DONATION TRANSPARENCY & EFFECTIVENESS AFTER THE NEPAL EARTHQUAKES

Disaster Accountability Project began collecting data for this report immediately after Nepal’s deadly earthquake on April 25, 2015. More transparent and accountable fundraising, relief, and recovery will improve the effectiveness of the response, save lives and reduce suffering.

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Please Download The Report Here: The First Month: Examining the Humanitarian Relief Response to the 2015 Nepal Earthquakes

Executive Summary

Disaster relief organizations vary widely in their ability to respond to major disasters. Differences in positioning or response capacity are often trumped by an organization’s brand recognition. The most well-known organizations usually raise the most money.

At the six-month and one-year anniversaries of disaster events, news stories emerge about the successes and shortfalls of the relief and recovery efforts. Questions often focus on how much was raised and spent. The accountability stories are familiar and often too late.

Once money is raised, it is hard to track and measure its effectiveness for relief efforts.

Ultimately, organizations set their own rules regarding how funds are raised, earmarked, allocated, and spent. On their fundraising pages, organizations dictate the “fine print” below the picture of a child surrounded by earthquake rubble. Despite donors’ best intentions, only a small percentage of the funds intended for Nepal earthquake relief and recovery will ever make it there.

This report focuses on organizations that solicited or received donations after Nepal’s April and May 2015 earthquakes and examines where the funds ultimately go.

Section One provides background on Disaster Accountability Project’s purpose and goals.

Section Two explores the manner by which relief organizations solicited and raised online donations after the Nepal earthquakes. A team of DAP volunteers reviewed relief organization websites and other online appeals, and determined, based on the language of each site, whether organizations were clear and specific about their intended and actual use of the funds raised.

Section Three offers a look at self-reported data by over fifty organizations. In addition to the full-text survey responses, Section Three offers tables and analysis that will allow survivors, donors, and all other stakeholders to compare and contrast the activities and involvement of various Nepali Civil Society, Nepali Diaspora, and International Organizations. Just as important as the data collected is the data missing. Unfortunately, too many organizations in the disaster relief/humanitarian aid sector (or industry) lack basic transparency and often forget that as NGOs, they have a mandate to be accountable to the public in addition to their largest donors.

The Annexes to this report contain related tables, lists, and the full survey responses DAP received.