Four key research findings:

1. Appeals encourage giving – large disaster appeals are effective in encouraging people to give as the act of donating  may motivate donors to give to other causes. This is equally true of annual telethons such as Children in Need and Comic Relief. Disaster appeals, therefore, do not adversely impact other planned fundraising activity and appear to stimulate a culture of giving. 

2. Donations are not cannibalised – during an appeal, donations are seen to spike for the disaster but do not create a deficit in giving to other charities. In fact, there is a simultaneous increase in donations to other non-disaster related charities during a large disaster appeal, followed by an eventual return to normal giving levels. 

3. ‘Hassle costs’ are reduced – donors tend to be more receptive to donating to other charities during disaster relief appeals. This may be caused by the donor being already primed to give and finding it easier to give to more than one charity at the same time.

4. Giving is emotive – effective disaster response campaigns can influence an individual’s need to help other causes. Therefore, there is no evidence that employees being asked to give for a number of different initiatives or charities will just select one. 


These are new findings, based on a huge CAF dataset, that debunk myths on donor behaviour, and challenge widely held assumptions. For our participants this prompted an interesting discussion on how to approach and maximise their potential to create a better society.

Take a look at part two of our Disaster Relief blog, where we explore the considerations businesses have to make to define their response strategy, what expectations their employees have, and how best to develop an approach that is tailored to your business.

We work with over 7,000 companies and manage over £2.5 billion for donors and charities, supporting over 50,000 NGOs and social enterprises in over 100 countries. We work closely with companies across the globe to deliver flexible and tailored financial products and strategic advice to address the critical issues facing business and communities such as disaster relief. 

We would love to hear your thoughts on this blog. For more information on how we can support you and your business please get in touch with our team.