Apr 21 2022
Philanthropy and Disaster Response
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:History: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 appealsWhat 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 & EconomicsWhy 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?Current ContextWhy 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?Related Links:Philliteracy thread about the history of disaster relief fundsReading list on history of disaster relief fundsRoddy, 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.