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Posted: 2018-11-16 23:46:34

Amid the outpouring of generosity and offers of assistance in the aftermath of catastrophic California wildfires, Direct Relief wishes to note its policy regarding donor-designated contributions.

Direct Relief’s policy regarding any contributions that are designated for the California wildfires is simple:

Direct Relief will use all contributions designated for the California wildfires solely for relief and recovery efforts related to the California wildfires.

Direct Relief’s donation policy includes no fine print, disclaimer, or qualification.

Direct Relief practices have long recognized the importance of enabling donors to communicate their intentions regarding donations and explaining how the organization carefully accounts for and uses designated contributions to honor the donors’ intentions. Direct Relief takes several steps, spelled out below, to ensure that both donors’ intentions and the organization’s use of contributions are clear.

We want this be very clear because, unfortunately, we are aware of far-too-common misleading practices that arise in connection with high profile emergencies that spur people to make contributions – for example, solicitations for a specific event such as the current California fires that include a provision stating that “funds determined to be excess to the needs of this specific event will be redirected to wherever they are needed most.”

Such statements are grossly inconsistent with and effectively nullify the principle that nonprofit organizations must honor donor intent. Obviously, if an organization reserves the unqualified, independent right to determine when and how much such funds are “excess” and where and for what purposes they may be used, the donor’s intent is irrelevant and has no meaning. Such practices noisily exploit a specific tragedy and the public’s desire to help those affected by it while quietly avoiding any duty to do so. Direct Relief does not engage in such practices, never has, and never will.


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