Texas Emergency Management ONLINE 2011 Vol. 58 No. 3


Donations Management

The events of September 11, 2001 shocked the nation and resulted in an outpouring of compassion for the victims from throughout the world. Officials in Oklahoma sent teddy bears that had been left at the site of the federal courthouse bombing in 1995. In distant Kenya, members of the Maasai tribe joined together to donate 14 Zebu cattle to express their condolences to the people of the United States.

In the wake of a disaster, people eager to help can donate an astonishing amount of money to legitimate organizations and to scam artists. They can donate needed items, as well as items that are of little use on the receiving end. That’s why officials from local jurisdictions would do well to learn about donations management by taking G288 offered by the Texas Division of Emergency Management, according to Anna Tangredi, TDEM’s Voluntary Agency Liaison.

Anna Tangredi said: “By planning and taking G288, Donations Management, you’ll learn what to do with unsolicited items and unaffiliated volunteers. A mass influx of donations can overwhelm a disaster response operation.”

G288 provides information about the donations strategy and management process; donations management roles and responsibilities; public and media education; planning and operations. It also features a panel discussion with Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) members as well as a workshop to help participants with development of the Annex T (donations management) section of their local jurisdiction plans.

Tangredi said getting the right message out to the public early in the disaster can make a difference. The messages should be simple and easy to understand:

  • The best donations are contributions in cash.
  • Donations should go to already known organizations.
  • If people want to donate items, they should contact relief organizations working at the disaster.
  • Donated items have to be packed carefully and labeled clearly.
  • Do not assume that your donated material can be transported or unloaded for free.

“Cash donations are what sustain Long Term Recovery operations, especially if there has not been a Presidential Disaster Declaration,” Tangredi said. “Being prepared and having a message is important. The message is – cash is king”

Tangredi said Francisco Crespo of the Office of the Mayor in Washington, D.C. emphasized that very point when he spoke with experts in donations management on a National Donations Partnership conference call. He said that following the Haitian earthquake, the influx of donated items from the United States became a logistical nightmare for the Haitian Embassy in Washington – and even the area surrounding the embassy. Mass numbers of volunteers were required to sort through trash bags filled with donate items.

“Our donations management course can help you plan and prepare for times when the public wants to help by sending material goods,” Tangredi said.

To learn more about donations management, click on the following links:

FEMA Donations Management Questions and Answers

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): How You Can Help When Disaster Strikes

National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster: Donated Goods During Disaster Response

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