What makes a ‘perfect’ disaster… or a ‘terrible’ one? I’ll give you a hint – The Haitian Earthquake was near perfect. The Ebola outbreak in Africa was awful.
And my ‘perfect’ or ‘awful’ I mean, of course, fundraising potential. The Haitian earthquake relief efforts raised over $9 Billion. Ebola, so far is closer to $30 Million. The American Red Cross received $486 Million for Haiti; so far it has raised less than $3 Million for Ebola.
How is this possible? They are both disasters of the worse magnitude.. worthy and in need of major financial response.
Why is Ebola apparently un-fundable, yet Haiti such an easy sell?
The Podcast Planet Moneyhad a brilliant economic explanation. In terms of incentivizing people to donate money, Haiti was the ‘perfect’ disaster. Why?
1. It had a specific, high visibility, photo-op-able start – the earthquake!
Ebola, on the other hand, started small and crept up.. and continue to creep up. There was no ‘launch date or event’
2. Money donated would be seen as creating something good – a rebuilt Haiti
For Ebola, funding would be to prevent more ‘bad’ as oppose to build something ‘good’.
3. Haiti was in a region that people could relate to – tons of Americans have been to the Caribbean.
No one ever goes to West Africa.
Ebola is, in a nutshell, the toughest kind of disaster to raise money for. Sad. For what its worth, as soon as I finished listening to this explanation I rushed online and donated 500$ to Doctors Without Borders – something for us all to consider.