Charitable accountability

Monday, March 21, 2005

When news of the Asian tsunami devastation spread around the globe, people everywhere began sending donations to help survivors recover.

Within months, major charities and relief agencies had more donations than they could handle. Many groups have stopped soliciting donations and have started returning money.

Yet billions of dollars more will be needed for long-term rebuilding efforts in the region. But relief agencies are concerned about recent charity scandals and say they're being careful not to accept more money for tsunami relief than they can spend in aiding tsunami victims.

The American Red Cross and British-based Oxfam stopped raising money for their tsunami relief work more than a month ago.

Donors to Doctors Without Borders have been given the choice of having their donations returned or allowing the money to be used for other purposes. Almost 90 percent of donors have said it's OK to use their money where needed.

It is good that relief agencies and charities are careful with their spending and want to be fully accountable to donors. That sort of openness helps make sure agencies do what they say they will do when they solicit donations.

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