Once considered haphazard and uncoordinated, international relief and rescue efforts have come into their own as vital fundraising campaigns. Whether responding to the grave effects of a natural disaster or to the plight of malnourished children in third-world countries, organizations such as American Red Cross, CARE, UNICEF, Food for the Hungry, International Rescue Committee and a host of others have heeded the global call.
The efforts have come a long way since the 1970s and ‘80s, when the demand for an internationally organized disaster-relief response system began to grow. Since then, organizations have developed educational tools to increase public awareness and streamlined the dissemination of relief services.
And as the global community grows more interdependent in its communication and commerce, the need for international relief services during natural disasters and military conflict has become increasingly critical to the well-being of all nations, experts attest.
By the numbers
Reeling from rough economic times and the events of Sept. 11, 2001, nonprofit mailers had an arduous year in 2002. After the terrorist attacks, the rush of donations to various domestic relief and related charities tapped out some donors by late 2001 and early 2002, according to Wirthlin Worldwide, a strategic research and consulting firm serving the nonprofit sector.
“Many [nonprofit] organizations debated what they did with their direct mail after September 11,” confirms Henry Most, a business analyst for Names in the News, California, a list-management and brokerage firm. “International relief organizations might have had a slightly easier time, though, because their messages were relevant to what was going on.”
Based on Wirthlin’s 2002 year-end survey of donor behavior, more than six in ten (a surprising 63 percent) of Americans donated as much to charities in 2002 as they did in 2001. Sixteen percent actually gave more. So far in 2003, the numbers are encouraging for many sectors, especially in international relief.