Some Gift of the Givers medical personnel and Search and Rescue (S&R) teams who travelled to Nepal following the first earthquake three weeks ago were already back home when the second one hit earlier this week. None of them will be going back after the government of Nepal announced that it no longer requires assistance from foreign rescue teams for the time being.
The need for further donations and assistance in Gift of the Givers projects around the world is still overwhelming however according to the NGO’s Founder, Director and Chairman Dr Imtiaz Sooliman. And the foundation is focussing its efforts to raise extra funds online.
“Online contributions are not new to us… we’ve been using them for sometime now and we find that they work fairly well for people who are not regular donors, people who are outside the country, people who listen to news on the radio and can’t remember what number to call or what email address to write to,” Sooliman explains, “Online contributions are very effective when there is something current, something happening now. Those who are not generally our donors rush online and start making contributions. It also works for people who are outside the country after they see something about us on international media.”
Sooliman is quick to make it clear that regular contributions are far bigger than those made online because they run into millions and because a lot of people still prefer to give goods in kind.
“Online definitely has a place because it brings a lot of new donors. Online people don’t want to talk much and they simply make a donation at the machine but others want to talk to someone. In time online contributions can get very big. If it catches on and the organisation grows internationally in time online can overtake normal contributions.”
Gift of the Givers gave 4 000 tents, food parcels for 825 families, performed 102 major operations and assisted around 800 patients in Nepal’s mountains and city hospitals with primary healthcare and sometimes complicated surgeries.
Sooliman says although that although Gift of the Givers will no longer send teams to Nepal, they will send tents and temporary toilets on an ongoing basis. His organisation also recently offered emergency assistance to black foreign nationals during the outbreak of xenophobic attacks countrywide. Sooliman confirmed to us that donors are allowed to be specific about where and to whom they would like to benefit from their donation.
“Online is the best form of contribution because there is no work. You don’t do anything. The donor does everything. Everything is computer generated and makes life very easy,” said Sooliman who added that online donors receive an automatically generated thank you letter that serves as confirmation that the donation has been received.
Gift of the givers also accepts contributions made via SMS. You can contribute by ending the word “GIFT” followed by an amount between R5 and R200 to 30100 for Vodacom users and 42600 from all other networks at a cost of R30 per sms. Eg. “Gift R50”, not “Gift R50.00”
[Image by CC 2.0/EU]