January 13, 2011

Donors Praise Charity Relief Efforts in Haiti Earthquake

Nearly 60 percent of people who donated to charities involved in the Haiti relief-and-recovery effort said they were either very confident or somewhat confident that their donations were well spent, according to a survey released to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the destructive earthquake.

Only 17 percent of the nearly 2,000 donors studied were not at all confident in how the charities spent money raised to support the relief efforts, said Charity Navigator, a watchdog group in Glen Rock, N.J.

Of the 80 percent of donors who said they had made a gift for Haiti relief,  60 percent said they supported one charity and 39 percent supported two to five charities. About 1 percent donated to six or more charities.

Donor sentiment wasn't quite as buoyant after Hurricane Katrina. A year after that 2005 natural disaster, a similar poll by Charity Navigator found that less than 8 percent of donors  were "very confident" in how their money was used.

Charity Navigator says the reason donors have different views of may lie with the relationships donors had with the charities they supported after the two disasters.

For the Haiti earthquake, 67 percent of donors said they chose charities they had previously supported. In contrast, only48 percent of Katrina donors said they had supported the charities before the hurricane occurred.

The poll found good news for charities seeking continued support for Haiti efforts. Eighty-one percent of donors said they would be open to the possibility of supporting the charity's work in Haiti again.

But other international efforts may not get such a big lift: Only a quarter were interested in supporting the same charity with work they do in other parts of the world.

For more of The Chronicle's continuing coverage of Haiti, explore our roundup of Haiti-related news and find out how much money has been spent by the charities involved in this interactive graphic.