September 11: More Effective Collaboration Could Enhance Charitable Organizations' Contributions in Disasters, Report to the Ranking Minority Member, Committee on Finance, U.S. Senate [open pdf - 528KB]
Surveys suggest that as many as two-thirds of American households have donated money to charitable organizations to aid in the response to the September 11 disasters. To provide the public with information on the role of charitable aid in assisting those affected by the attacks, GAO was asked to report on the amount of donations charities raised and distributed, the accountability measures in place to prevent fraud by organizations and individuals, and lessons learned about how to best distribute charitable aid in similar situations. Although it may be difficult to precisely tally the total amount of funds raised in response to the September 11 attacks, 35 of the larger charities have reported raising an estimated $2.7 billion since September 11, 2001. About 70 percent of the money that has been collected by these 35 charities has been reported distributed to survivors or spent on disaster relief since September 11, 2001. Charities used the money they collected to provide direct cash assistance and a wide range of services to families of those killed, those more indirectly affected through loss of their job or residence, and to disaster relief workers. At the same time, lessons have been learned that could improve future charitable responses in disasters, including easing access to aid, enhancing coordination among charities and between charities and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), increasing attention to public education, and planning for future events.
Government Accountability Office (GAO): http://www.gao.gov/