Read the “Small Print” on Charity’s Appeal

東北地方での地震発生から5日。まだ原発は危険な状態が続いており、各国政府は、被災地のみならず東京からの自国人の緊急避難を促している。被災地では寒さが続き、燃料不足と被曝への不安から物資が届かず、被災者の方たちの苦難は続く。国内外で不安がどんどん高まり、気分が滅入る。そんな絶望的な状況の中で、イギリスで支援の輪が増えてきたのが、せめてもの慰めだ。

ただ、インターネット掲示板などでも話題になっている事だが、いくつかの慈善団体が、日本への義援金集めと言いながら、目立たぬ但し書きで「もし必要以上にお金が集まった場合は、余剰の寄付金が他の案件に使われることもある」と書いている(イギリス赤十字Save the Childrenなど)。私が何とか力になりたいという衝動で寄付した時は、東北地震と謳っているからには当然集まったお金は日本の被災地のために使われると思い込んでいたので、説明なんて読まなかった。売買や契約などの際は、きちんと規約を読むようにしていたけれど、まさか慈善団体への寄付も、詳細を隅から隅まで読まないといけないとは思わなかった。どの慈善団体もそうなのだろうか?最後尾にせよ、募集サイト上に書いている赤十字は可愛いもので、Save the Childrenなどは、「寄付」をクリックしたあと、右側にある「Donation Q&As」から「What happens if an emergency appeal exceeds its target?」を再度クリックしないと、表示されないという手の込みよう。

慈善団体は、彼らなりに今どこが援助を最も必要としているかを考えて、寄付金の使途を決めるのだろうが、特定の義援金集めを謳っている場合、人々は寄付金をその為に使ってくれると信じて寄付する訳だから、もしその他の事に使う可能性があるのであれば、そのことを人々に明確に告知する義務があるのではないか。これは掲示板からの抜粋だけれど、このことを赤十字に指摘したところ、返ってきた答えが以下の通り。

For sure that the charities allocate the fund wherever necessary and won’t waste the money (though British Red Cross is said to charge 28% commission), but I feel a bit betrayed if they call an appeal for specific cause but use the money for something else. I believe that not many people read all the description and know that their money may be spent for other causes, therefore, charities should be more clear about it – writing big or in red, or whatever make it more visible. Someone on the communication board pointed out the issue to the British Red Cross, and here is their response.

We always caveat our donations for international appeals as dependent on the coverage some appeals can be heavily over subscribed leaving charities with restricted money that they cannot reasonably spend and in some cases, as happened in America when Hurricane Katrina struck a few years ago, there is no option left but to simply give out cash grants to those affected.

Of course it is unlikely to happen for this appeal, but we are deliberately keeping it low level because the Japanese Red Cross has been overwhelmed with donations from within country and is now receiving assistance from the American Red Cross.

As a developed country well able to withstand this type of emergency, Japan was not looking for financial assistance, but at the same time the UK public want to give in support of the appeal and so we have agreed to act as a conduit in the short term.

その中で赤文字部分が気になる。日本赤十字社などとやり取りをした中でこう言われたのかもしれないが、あれだけの惨状を目当たりにして、「日本は先進国だから自分たちの面倒は自分で見られる、財政援助は求めていない」なんて無神経な事が、どうして言えるんだろう。財政援助はいらないと思うのであれば、寄付金を集める意味などないのでは?イギリス赤十字社のサイトに、目標額と現在の寄付金総額が記されていないのも、疑問が残る。しかも、28%のマージンまで取ると聞いている。まあ、疑心暗鬼になっていても仕方ないから、被災者の方々にできる限りの支援が届く事を信じるしかないか。

↓ 今日見つけた支援情報

It’s been five days since the Tohoku earthquake and Tsunami. But nuclear fear still remains and many countries encourage their people to evacuate from not only affected area but also from Tokyo as well. It is freezing cold in Tohoku, but substantial amount of aid materials can’t be reached out to the evacuees due to lack of fuels and drivers’ fear of radiation. Fear and anxiety inside and outside of Japan has been heightened, and it makes me feel depressed. However, a little hope in such despair is that the circle of help in Japan is getting bigger in UK.

However, there is a concern being discussed on Japanese internet communication boards – some charities, such as British Red Cross and Save the Children, put “small print” on their Japan earthquake and Tsunami appeal, indicating that there is a possibility that the money raised may not necessary be used for Tohoku region, when the funds raised exceed the “need”. When I donated money to British Red Cross, I rushed to proceed without reading the description as I was so concerned, believing that all my money would be delivered to the victims in Japan. I always read terms and condition carefully when I sign a contract or purchase something, but I’ve never thought that even established charities use the same tactic that commercial companies use. Now I am confused if all charities do the same?! British Red Cross put the sentence on the same page of appeal at least, though it is all the way down the bottom, but Save the Children let us click twice to see it – it is on the second page after you click “give now”, then “What happens if an emergency appeal exceeds its target?” from Donation Q&As on the right – clever way to make it less visible!

For sure that the charities allocate the fund wherever necessary and won’t waste the money, apart from the fact that British Red Cross is said to charge 28% commission, but I feel a bit betrayed if they call an appeal for specific cause but use the money for something else. I believe that not many people read all the description and know that their money may be spent for other causes. Charities should be more clear about it – writing big or in red, or whatever make it more visible. Someone on the communication board pointed out the issue to the British Red Cross, and here is their response.

We always caveat our donations for international appeals as dependent on the coverage some appeals can be heavily over subscribed leaving charities with restricted money that they cannot reasonably spend and in some cases, as happened in America when Hurricane Katrina struck a few years ago, there is no option left but to simply give out cash grants to those affected.

Of course it is unlikely to happen for this appeal, but we are deliberately keeping it low level because the Japanese Red Cross has been overwhelmed with donations from within country and is now receiving assistance from the American Red Cross.

As a developed country well able to withstand this type of emergency, Japan was not looking for financial assistance, but at the same time the UK public want to give in support of the appeal and so we have agreed to act as a conduit in the short term.

I am quite disturbed with the sentence in red. They might be told by Japanese Red Cross, but it is quite insensitive comment by such an established charity. Considering the intensity of the damage caused by massive earthquake, fierce Tsunami, and possible nuclear contamination, how on earth they can think that there is no need for financial help?! If they believe so, why they even try to raise funds for?? I also don’t like that their website doesn’t show project target and progress, as Ocado Japan Appeal does, so that I have a choice not to donate if the target is achieved and the further donation will be given to others. Well, no point to be overly suspicious, and I just really hope that enough help will be delivered to the victims in Japan…

↓ Additional information for help for Today

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3 responses to “Read the “Small Print” on Charity’s Appeal

  1. everydaylifestyle

    Thanks for your comment! It is a great encouragement for me :-)
    I wrote another entry about the small print I wrote yesterday – hope you can check it as well.

  2. Pingback: Responses from British Red Cross for the “Small Print” | everydaylife.style

  3. Thank you very much for the info. Very helpful. Keep on writing good ones. I am one of the big fan of your blog. Looking forward to your next post

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