Leading Australian Humanitarian Aid Agencies May Form Coalition

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Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has backed a plan to better enable Australians to help people in need by combining various Australian charity groups into a one stop donation shop. Apparently plans are being made to follow other developed countries such as the United States to simplify the donation process for charities and aid groups. The plan is to get the various groups to act as a single entity by establishing a joint appeal mechanism for humanitarian responses.

Simple idea

The idea is very simple, by pooling resources and funding, charities and aid agencies will be better equipped to fight drought, famine and disease. If the plan works then a coalition of charities and aid agencies would also raise the profile of the disaster, collect more in donations and keep overhead costs down. Supporters of the idea say they think it would result in more money, food, clean water and medicines to reach the people that need it the most.

Australian government supports the idea

The Foreign Minister made a statement saying that the Turnbull Government supports the idea, but how exactly the various charities and agencies collaborate is a matter for them to decide. Aid groups immediately welcomed the response. Just last month a Global Emergency Response Coalition was created by eight major humanitarian aid agencies based in the United States. Similar coalitions have been established in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K.

A single point of contact for donors

In practice, what the plan would mean is that single portal would be created as well as single phone line and website to manage solicitations for donations to a response to a humanitarian disaster. There would of course be governing mechanisms for groups who participate, and accountancy firms would be brought in with the funding to be distributed according to a fixed percentage. Participating organisations would have a say in how the money is to spent based on their ability to use the cash collected efficiently on the ground.

Not all plain sailing

Whilst the plan does simplify the process of donations, smaller agencies could wind up with the short end of the stick because they may see their brand diluted. Alternatively, there could be competition problems if major agencies decide against participating and not all agencies are likely to trust each other. Over the short run the public may find themselves unaware of the coalition and this could result in a drop in donations. Whilst the proposal has gotten close in the past, it has failed at board level with several agencies, hopefully with the backing of the Government this time it may cross the finish line.

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