Money is the lifeblood of rapid response. It can be instantly transferred and converted into whatever is most needed, anywhere in the world.
It is often thought that a 'free' donation of clothes, medicine, or tinned food helps the victims of disasters, but with money the British Red Cross can help more people, more cheaply, and more efficiently.
That means having the right equipment, personnel, aid and technical know-how to respond to anything from a major earthquake to the outbreak of war.
Spending money where it is needed
Whenever possible, the Red Cross will buy the items we need in the affected country or in the surrounding region. This benefits the local economy (by helping local markets and traders) and allows us to take into account local tastes, traditions and culture more easily.
Local purchasing also assists with reducing transport costs and speeding delivery times. Very often the cost of transporting a 'free' donation from the UK is more than the total value of the donation itself.
We purchase goods of a standard specification and quality so that our principles of impartiality and neutrality are not jeopardised. We do this because beneficiaries might feel they have been treated unfairly if they receive something that is different from their neighbour or, worse still, those on an opposing side.
Donating second-hand goods
Instead, if you have second-hand goods you wish to donate, you might like to take them along to your local British Red Cross shop, look for local charities that can put the goods to use, or contact organisations that have made public appeals for these items.
Money gives us flexibility
Money can be instantly transferred and converted into whatever is most needed, anywhere in the world. This not only allows us to use our strong purchasing power to benefit the maximum number of people; it also allows us to adjust our response very rapidly to changing needs and priorities in the affected country.
The best and easiest way to help the Red Cross is to support us with a donation of money. One of the most efficient ways to give is by making a donation online.