Why There's No Viral Fundraiser to Help Fight Ebola


Sweeney said the American Red Cross creates targeted fundraising pages when there's enough interest in a particular cause. For now, people wishing to donate to the organization's response to the Ebola outbreak can download a form that allows them to specify where they want their donation to go.

Another of the biggest international relief agencies on the ground in West Africa, Doctors Without Borders, is not accepting donations solely earmarked to Ebola relief because it could hurt their ability to respond to other disasters.

Sophie Delaunay, executive director of Doctors Without Borders (also known by its French initials MSF), said earmarked donations can slow down their disaster response as they have to wait for specific funds to come in rather than drawing from a larger pool.

“We want to be able to have sufficient cash flow to respond to an emergency right away and not wait to have earmarked funding to come,” said Delauney.

Delauney said part of the problem with the Ebola outbreak is that money isn't enough. It is a complex problem spanning multiple countries and governments. While the MSF have 1,000 people on the ground, they’re working on finding more people and supplies to treat the patients that are now overwhelming existing treatment centers.

“As soon as we expand our activity we need to be able to ensure the appropriate level for human resources there,” said Delauney. “I’m not worried about financial resources, I think we will get the support financially. From a human point of view, it’s more complex.”

Not all organizations have shied away from raising funds for Ebola. The University of California San Francisco is working to raise $100,000 for medical supplies to be sent to a clinic in Sierra Leone that was started by a UCSF professor.

An anonymous donor has agreed to match all donations more than $250 and up to $50,000.

In addition, AmeriCares, the U.S. based non-profit emergency response and global health organization that distributed medical and humanitarian aid, is accepting donations pegged specifically to helping treat Ebola patients.

Donations to Doctors Without Borders can be made here.

Donations to the American Red Cross can be made here.

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