In this episode, in light of recent high-profile disasters in places like Ukraine, Afghanistan and Tigray, we take a look at the long-standing relationship between philanthropy and disaster response. Including:
- The history of disaster response philanthropy: from 16th Century “charitable briefs” in response to fires and floods to the emergence of the Disasters Emergency Committee and the rise of celebrity-led disaster appeals
- What has been the relationship between one-off disaster appeals and efforts to encourage regular giving?
- How did fundraisers of the past use published donor lists to name and shame people into giving?
- Has disaster response philanthropy always been a cross-border affair?
- How has perception of victims of disasters shaped philanthropic response throughout history?
- Why has slowness in distributing funds always been a source of criticism?
- How have paternalistic and judgmental approaches to distribution led to to resentment and even riots?
Psychology & Economics
- Why does the “identifiable victim effect” mean that it is often better to focus on individual stories rather than statistics?
- Can giving people too much information about a disaster actually decrease their giving?
- What is the “bystander effect” and why does it lead people to give less when in groups?
- How does out perception of disasters as “natural” or “man-made” affect our willingness to give?
- Why is the Ukraine war receiving more attention than other disasters e.g. Tigray, Afghanistan? Is there a racial element?
- Why do people prefer to give goods, and why don’t most NGOs want this?
- Are donations of weapons philanthropy?
- How are people using technology to disintermediate disaster philanthropy (e.g. “donating” via Airbnb, giving cryptocurrency)? What concerns should we have?
- Is it helpful to depoliticize disasters, or does it deflect attention from what is truly necessary to deal with some situations?
- Can we ever shift from disaster response to long-term development and prevention?
- Philliteracy thread about the history of disaster relief funds
- Reading list on history of disaster relief funds
- Roddy, S., Strange, J., & Taithe, B. (2019).The Charity Market and Humanitarianism in Britain, 1870–1912
- Zagefka et al (2012). Eliciting donations to disaster victims: Psychological considerations. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 15(4), 221-230.
- Brown, P. H., & Minty, J. H. (2008). Media coverage and charitable giving after the 2004 tsunami. Southern Economic Journal, 75(1), 9-25.
- Eckel, C., Grossman, P. J., & Milano, A. (2007). Is more information always better? An experimental study of charitable giving and Hurricane Katrina. Southern Economic Journal, 74(2), 388-411.
- Scharf, K. A., Smith, S., & Wilhelm, M. (2017). Lift and shift: the effect of fundraising interventions in charity space and time.