Humanitarian need around the world is increasing. In and around Syria the already unprecedented levels of need are still escalating, in the Philippines relief response in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan continues, while in the Central African Republic (CAR) and South Sudan the number of people affected by conflict continues to rise. As a result of these and lesser-reported crises, funding requirements for the United Nations (UN) Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) annual humanitarian appeals are going up and look set to continue to do so in 2014.
Yet international humanitarian funding is not keeping pace: 2013 saw the highest level of unmet financing need in response to the UN appeal in over a decade, and humanitarian response agencies are looking beyond donor governments to other sources to fill the gap. Non-state – or private – funding is therefore growing in importance. Private funding from individuals, trusts and foundations, and companies and corporations is not only valued for its volume. Humanitarian agencies also value the flexibility and reliability of private funds because they come with less earmarking and a longer time frame than funding from institutional or state donors.
Despite its growing importance, there is no systematic reporting of private funds, so it is impossible to gauge accurately how much there is, or where and how it is spent.
Until there is a shared and reliable evidence base it is impossible to accurately measure progress, or to coordinate and target resources effectively. The ability to hold all actors to account is also severely hampered.
This research draws on a broad set of data sourced from humanitarian agencies to construct a picture of private humanitarian assistance. It measures humanitarian funding from individuals, foundations, and companies and corporations: who the money comes from, who raises it, and where it is spent.
The role of these private donors clearly goes beyond purely financial donations. There is an acknowledged rise for example in corporate partnerships, where expertise, human resources and goods are given. However, reporting makes the value of these hard to quantify. Where gifts in kind are given a financial value by the receiving organisation, this value is included in our analysis. Strategic partnerships, volunteering and other forms of support are not included as there is no such data available on these forms of assistance.
Due to the limited availability of data, our non-governmental organisation (NGO) figures and our figure for total private humanitarian assistance are estimates (see methodology section for details). The report covers the period 2008–2012, as there is currently no data available for 2013.