Millions of Dollars for Relief - Where Does it Go?

Floods and mudslides, blustering snowstorms, earthquakes and fires: natural disasters devastated hundreds of thousands worldwide in 2014. Add in other humanitarian crises like the Ebola outbreak or the war in the Middle East, and the victim count rises to the millions. There’s no reason to think this year will be any different.

Millions of dollars were poured into organizations around the world helping those affected by disaster last year. More will continue to fund aid throughout 2015. When is it wise to give to relief aid and when is your money more usefully directed to another form of assistance?

The Development-Based Model of Relief*



We provide support to those in crisis who are unable to help themselves and whose community is also unable, or perhaps unwilling, to provide help. This will look different depending on the emergency and the community. While relief is extremely valuable for a time, it is only a temporary solution, and continuing to provide it when the recipients are able to play an active role in their development only perpetuates the cycle of dependency and poverty.


Once an emergency is over and those affected are able to participate in their own recovery, they have reached the point of rehabilitation, restoring what was lost in the disaster. In this phase, aid workers are simply guides.

This is a wise area in which to invest, after the chaos has calmed but with much work yet to be done. Once the news headlines have subsided, many people wait for the next disaster to occur before giving again, while victims are still picking up the pieces.


Development occurs when a community or person engages in and is empowered to take leadership of ongoing change, learning how to leverage local resources and personal assets. When done correctly, the community continues without outside help.

Investing in the Present and the Future

As an organization, we value this model of aid and take great care to empower others to help themselves when possible. However, we also believe in preparation for future crises. We are currently only $33,000 away from our 2015 goal for funding current and future disaster relief.

Will you help us reach that goal now?

*These methods are based on Ending Global Poverty: A Guide to What Works © 2008 by Steven C. Smith and When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor...And Yourself © 2012 by Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert.