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July 16, 2015

Relief Groups Expand Fundraising in Fight for Aid Dollars

Major aid charities have more than tripled their spending on fundraising over the past decade amid a boom in international aid and fierce competition to draw donors, the Thomson Reuters Foundation reports. Total spending by the world's 50 largest humanitarian nonprofits has more than doubled in 10 years to $18 billion, as more public money is channeled to relief work in disaster and conflict zones, according to the foundation's inaugural Business of Aid survey.

The survey found that major aid groups put almost $1.5 billion, 6.6 percent of their total spending, into soliciting in 2013-14, compared to about $500 million (5.8 percent) in 2003-04. ActionAid spent the highest share on fundraising (17.4 percent), followed by Plan International (14.2 percent) and Médecins Sans Frontières (13.8 percent). An ActionAid representative said that "for every dollar we invest in fundraising we see a return of nearly five times that much that we spend on transforming people's lives."

Of the 25 largest aid charities, 12 shared data on fraud as part of the survey, Thomson Reuters also writes. Information from those groups showed annual losses of $2.7 million to misappropriation, 0.03 percent of their combined yearly revenue. Transparency experts said losses across the sector are probably much higher.