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Towards a collective funding platform for humanitarian crises
Véronique de Geoffroy and Laure Pons

Large-scale disasters like the Tsunami in Indonesia and the recent earthquake in Haiti have shown that extensive media coverage can lead to a strong public reaction and the raising of substantial private funds. Whereas in several other European countries non-governmental funding platforms have been set up to manage the funds raised, there is no consensus in France about the form that this should take. The absence of reflection about how these funds should be managed prior to the crises has led to some controversy, creating a great deal of confusion among the general public and the media. The present study compares the different mechanisms which exist in Europe in order to identify good practice and risks. This is done with a view to encouraging reflection about the possibility of creating a new “French” mechanism.

Internationally, private donations (from organisations and individuals) have reached exceptionnally high levels following recent disasters: 3.6 billion Euros in 2005 for the Tsunami and nearly 780 million Euros in response to the earthquake in Haiti.
France was no exception to this phenomenon. Following the earthquake in Haiti, the Fondation de France (FDF), the organisation which had the greatest media visibility, raised 31.4 million Euros from the general public. Though the amount of funds raised was unusually high, there was some conflict over the way they were redistributed between NGOs. Access to the media (and FDF’s near monopoly of the public service), the criteria used for redistributing the funds, selecting the projects and sharing funds between emergency relief and reconstruction aid and monitoring and reporting mechanisms are all issues which still need to be clarified.

Collective funding mechanisms involve three key actors: the public sector media, NGOs and the general public. Each of these actors has their own needs and whatever the nature or the strategy of the funding platform, it is important that these are fully taken into account.

There is a lack of consensus within the humanitarian sector in France about the form that mechanisms of this kind should take which leads to disputes when crises of this size take place. As major disasters are becoming more and more common, and due to the quantity of private funds involved, it seemed important to identify good practices for non-state platforms before launching into the creation of a new one.