As part of a universal organisation dedicated to assisting others, the Cayman Islands Red Cross tirelessly raises funds for local as well as international causes. As the organisation is now in its 50th year, the Journal reports on just how fundraising works, dispelling some common myths.
The Cayman Islands Red Cross has, since inception, launched many appeals to provide relief for victims all over the world. In the last decade the number of appeals has increased to assist victims of recent disasters such as the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, Haiti’s earthquake last year and Japan’s recent earthquake and tsunami.
“Cayman’s residents have generously donated to these causes and as a nation we have played a part in helping the most vulnerable members of these communities obtain lifesaving provisions,” says Carolina Ferrara, who is in charge of fundraising efforts at the Cayman Islands Red Cross.
Carolina furthers that the Red Cross does not accept items at these times, just monetary donations.
“After a major disaster regular services are interrupted and sometimes air and sea ports are inaccessible, making physical donations of good very difficult,” she says. “In addition, clothing, although a popular donation item, is not normally top on the list of items needed in such circumstances. Food and water and medical supplies make more necessary donations but again the amount spent to purchase and then ship them from Cayman is not cost effective. A monetary donation enables those coordinating the aid effort to buy greater quantities of goods, and it will also stimulate the economy of that affected country when bought locally.”
Carolina confirms that all monies raised locally in Cayman for an international appeal go directly to the affected country.
National fundraising efforts
Donations to international appeals all go directly to that appeal; nothing is retained by the Cayman Islands Red Cross.
“We are merely a conduit for sending on donations in this regard,” Carolina explains. “Donations made directly to us for local use fund our four main community programmes: disaster management, first aid and CPR, HIV & Aids education and the thrift shop.”
Although the CIRC is a member of the British Red Cross, no funding is actually received from the UK in this regard.
Carolina says it’s important to make the distinction because there is a misconception here with regard to this relationship.
“It’s our community’s support of our fundraising efforts such as the annual dinner dance, the annual golf tournament and the donating/purchasing of goods from our thrift shop that help generate the majority of the operations funds used to run the branch,” she explains.
Carolina says it is important to differentiate the two types of fundraising that the Red Cross takes part in because however successful international appeals are, funds are always needed to continue the operation of the branch.
“When it comes to monetary donations and fundraising, our aim as a community must be to find a balance in ensuring that we do our part as global citizens while still ensuring that we continue to build our capacity in an effort to make ourselves more resilient. After all, our ability to assist others is determined by our capacity to help ourselves,” she confirms.