Frequently asked questions about the British Red Cross’ emergency appeals
We can't accept anything other than cash for emergency appeals.
Many people want to donate blankets and food when disaster strikes. But giving money is the best thing you can do.
In most cases, donating items doesn't help those affected by disaster. At worst, it can slow down our ability to save lives. Below, we explain why.
Donated items need to be sorted, cleaned and transported.
Delivering these items means we spend more on our relief efforts. This leaves less money to help those in crisis.
Giving help fast
Cash can be instantly transferred to areas where it’s needed. It can be used to buy whatever those affected by disaster need most.
This helps to rebuild communities. We can support nearby markets and traders.
In overseas emergencies, cash donations also allow us to be sensitive to local traditions and culture.
We get better value for money
When disaster strikes, we buy and source goods locally. This supports local businesses through difficult times - and it’s also more cost-effective.
On average, it costs four times more to source and buy goods here in the UK and send them overseas than it does to buy the same items locally.
Donations can block aid
Disaster areas are hard to reach if roads and bridges are damaged.
It’s vital that emergency teams can reach the people who need them. Roads should not be blocked by trucks carrying donations.
We know where your money goes
Money donated to the British Red Cross stays within our Movement. We use our network to make sure help is given to the people who need our support.
We have staff at the scene during emergencies. They make sure your money is used properly.
The British Red Cross is also a member of The Cash Learning Partnership. This ensures that transfers reach the people who need them.
Where item donations can help
Are you near an area hit by disaster? Then you can help by responding to requests for specific donations from food banks and shelters. Always check first to see what they need.
Please donate any other items to a British Red Cross shop. We can sell your gift and give the money to good causes.
You could organise a fundraising event. To discuss this, please get in touch by calling us 0300 456 1005 (calls charged at standard UK landline rate). You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or register your interest in running a fundraising event.