The term “in-kind” has special meaning in the world of relief and development. In-kind donations are part of an agreement between a company and a charitable organization to send specific supplies based on a confirmed need. In-kind donations:
- Are specifically requested by a charitable organization working on-site
- Are available in sufficient quantity to serve affected populations
- Are easily integrated into existing relief and development programs
- Are monitored for effectiveness.
Collections of canned food, bottled water, used clothing, toys, books, shoes and other household items are sometimes incorrectly referred to as “in-kind donations”, but only supplies that meet all of the above criteria are truly in-kind.
For survivors, relief workers, local merchants and host-country personnel, unsolicited collections of household items can end up being un-kind. A case of good intentions gone awry, uninvited material donations occlude space needed to stage and distribute life-saving relief supplies, divert relief workers’ time and may be culturally, nutritionally and environmentally inappropriate for survivors.
In stark contrast, cash donations can be used immediately by relief organizations to purchase exactly what survivors need, when they need it. The kindest donations satisfy survivors’ most urgent needs – monetary donations do this simply and efficiently.