CIDA’s advice on ensuring that your donation to flood relief in Pakistan is spent well

September 10, 2010 | By: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Mark Blumberg
Topics: News, Canadian Charity Law, Global Giving, Global Affairs Canada (GAC) formerly CIDA, Ethics and Canadian Charities

In CIDA’s Frequently Asked Questions on the Pakistan flooding here is the CIDA advice on picking a good charity to donate to.  Also CIDA correctly discourages in kind gifts in favour of cash.

How do I ensure that my donation will be well-spent in the flood relief efforts in Pakistan?

It is important for Canadians to make informed decisions about how their donations will be used. Here are some questions to help guide your decisions:

•Is the organization a registered charity according to the Canada Revenue Agency charities listings?
•How is the registered charity contributing to relief efforts in Pakistan?
•How will the registered charity use your donation to help the people affected by the floods in Pakistan?
•Is the registered charity conducting its own relief efforts on the ground in Pakistan? If so, is it already there?
•Has the registered charity worked in Pakistan before, doing what, and for how long?
•If the registered charity has never worked in Pakistan, what experience does it have carrying out disaster relief in other developing countries?
•If the registered charity is not working in Pakistan itself, where is your donation going?
If you do not have a charity in mind, a good starting point is to check out the news reports on the flood relief efforts in Pakistan. This will help you get a picture of the situation on the ground, and those that are in involved in relief activities.

10. Can Canadians send relief goods as a way of helping?

Canadians have always been known for their generosity. The best way for Canadians to help the victims of this disaster is to make a monetary donation to a reputable Canadian or international humanitarian or development organization that intends to use the funds for flood relief.

Monetary contributions enable relief staff to purchase needed goods locally. This saves valuable time and transportation costs. Goods are often less expensive when they are purchased locally, and this also helps the local economy.

For more information, please consult Flooding in Pakistan - How Canadians can help.

Here is a note that I wrote on picking a good organization to donate to in a disaster:


Do you require legal advice with respect to Canadian or Ontario non-profits or charities?


Charity Lawyer Mark Blumberg

Mark Blumberg is a partner at the law firm of Blumberg Segal LLP in Toronto and works almost exclusively in the areas of non-profit and charity law.
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