Avoiding Consequences of Unsolicited Donations

Avoiding Consequences of Unsolicited Donations

Australian study looks at donor behavior and effective messaging

 A recent study by the Australian Council for International Development took a behavioral research approach to survey 1,000 subjects who had or were considering sending UBDs (unsolicited bilateral donations) to areas in crisis. Researchers wanted to determine why, in times of humanitarian crisis or disaster response, donors insisted on sending donated goods instead of cash to affected areas. Unsolicited bilateral donations often cause major issues for the intended recipient, including storage costs, product deterioration, or disruption to the humanitarian supply chain.

Clothing donations abandoned in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami. Photo by: USAID/Source: devex.com

The researchers studied how in times of crisis, product donations are a popular response because of perceived uncertainty with where and how cash donations will be received and used. Sometimes, product donors simply do not consider how shipments will be received, unpacked and distributed. In researching different donor messaging, blunt messaging about the potential harmful impact of product donations ending up wasted in landfills was found most persuasive to donors to send cash instead.

 Read the Devex article about the study here.