Donated funds are used for aid work

Zimbabwean boys by a water barrel.
Photo: Saara Mansikkamäki / Suomen Punainen Risti

By donating, you help those most in need in Finland and around the world.

A donation made to the Red Cross means concrete aid for those most at risk. As a donor, you are an important link in the chain of aid – aid would not be possible without donors. Even a small sum of money can be crucial to another person’s life amidst a crisis or disaster.

You can choose to donate to the Disaster Relief Fund, friend activities, Youth Shelters or activities in Finland. You can be sure that your donation reaches its target. At least 80 cents from each euro donated are directed towards an aid operation, and administrative costs take up a maximum of 20 per cent of your donation.

Emergency aid in the midst of a disaster

The Disaster Relief Fund helps people in the most urgent cases of distress. The funds are not tied to any particular operation, but are always targeted where aid is needed the most. People who have lost their homes in a hurricane, escaped the horrors of war or suffered hunger due to drought can receive shelter, health care, food and clean water. In Finland, the Disaster Relief Fund helps e.g. people who have lost their homes in fires.

Friend to someone lonely

By donating to our friend activities, you are supporting important work in tackling loneliness in Finland. With the donated funds we train volunteer friends for people in need of company. The volunteer friend can be someone to talk to, someone who helps with errands or someone who joins you for a jog. Thoughts can be exchanged and anonymous discussions had with online friends via email messages or discussion applications.

Discussion support and a safe place to spend the night for young people

Finnish Red Cross Youth Shelters offer young people and their families help with everyday challenges and conflicts. People can come to the shelter without a referral whenever facing problems large or small. Thanks to our donors, young people receive online and face-to-face discussion support, temporary accommodation, help fixing their sleep patterns and support in becoming independent.

Safety net for everyone living in Finland

A donation to our activities in Finland enables Red Cross volunteers to provide help all over Finland every day of the year. Our volunteers help in accidents, support during crises, distribute food aid and care for those living alone under exceptional circumstances. We use the donated funds to train, support and equip volunteers.

This is how the Disaster Relief Fund helps

The Disaster Relief Fund is not committed to any specific target, meaning that funds can be directed to crisis areas with short notice. When a hurricane wreaks havoc, a drought destroys all chances for normal life or life at a refugee camp becomes unbearable, donations save lives.

Emergency aid means taking care of the basic necessities: clean water, food, soap, blankets, tarpaulins and health care for people who have lost everything. We can also send a field hospital or equipment and support for building IT connections in a crisis area. We deliver aid in cooperation with the local Red Cross or Red Crescent society.

The Disaster Relief Fund also supports development cooperation. We help the community affected by a crisis get back on its feet, prepare for any new crises and deal with them as efficiently as possible.

The need for help can surprise any of us at any time. The Disaster Relief Fund also allows us to help people with emergencies in Finland. For example, people who have lost their homes in fires can receive emergency aid, such as emergency accommodation, clothes and hygiene supplies and psychosocial support.

Donations made for the Disaster Relief Fund ensure that trained volunteers are always ready to provide aid across Finland in sudden accidents and exceptional circumstances. During the coronavirus epidemic, volunteers have helped vulnerable people by distributing food aid and running errands for people in high-risk groups.

The fund also supports the Voluntary Rescue Service that helps the authorities e.g. in finding missing persons.

According to the rules of the Disaster Relief Fund, the collection expenses must not exceed 20 per cent. This means that at least 80 cents of each euro donated goes to an aid operation.

Collection expenses are expenses directly caused from acquiring the donations, such as the printing and mailing costs of donation request letters, acquisition costs of the collection equipment, marketing costs, and fees collected by external service providers, including operators and banks.

In addition to life-saving aid supplies and their delivery costs, the Disaster Relief Fund can cover the salary costs of Finnish Red Cross aid workers operating in disaster and crisis areas. Such helpers include doctors, nurses and logisticians working in the areas. The Finnish Red Cross does not carry out international aid operations from Finland using volunteers. 

In the target countries, the share of aid workers and local volunteers depends on the situation and task at hand. For example, a field hospital clinic has a 50/50 share between hired employees and volunteers, whereas aid distribution can have one employee responsible for organising the work per 50 volunteers responsible for distribution. 

Of the permanent staff of the Finnish Red Cross, only employees working on fundraising are paid from the Disaster Relief Fund collection profits. The salaries of other staff in Finland are funded from several sources, such as the sales profits of Finnish Red Cross products, membership fees, and funding from various ministries and STEA.

In Finland, Red Cross employees support volunteers in their tasks. The aid work itself is carried out by volunteers, apart from a couple of exceptions. These include tasks in crisis situations that require trained psychologists.

Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers around the world take part voluntarily, out of a desire to help.

The rules of the Disaster Relief Fund and the strict control regulate the use of the donated funds. The accounting of the Finnish Red Cross is audited project-specifically every year, and an annual audit is required from other national associations of the Red Cross. Risk management is essential, because the international Red Cross movement operates in almost all countries in the world, and every country has its own operating culture.

We also analyse our cooperation partners, evaluate their capacity to monitor misconducts, and carry out monitoring ourselves. If the operations do not meet our expectations, we train our cooperation partner to develop their operations. If that does not help, we will withdraw our cooperation. This, also, is development cooperation by the Red Cross.

The Finnish Red Cross has permanent representatives at some aid targets, others we check once a year or more frequently as necessary.

If the target has an external funder, their representatives will visit the aid target to check that reports are accurate and money is spent as agreed.

We also strictly make sure that aid supplies go to those in the greatest need.

Approximately 90% of the donations to the Disaster Relief Fund come from private donors. Your support is essential!

In addition to donors, the aid projects of the Finnish Red Cross are funded by e.g the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO). Since all projects require a funding share from the Disaster Relief Fund, aid work would not be possible without our donors.

We warmly thank you for your help!

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