The Philippines: Crowdfunding to recover from Typhoon Haiyan
By Crowdfund Vibe staff writers
Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) devastated Southeast Asia in November of 2013. It was particularly destructive in the Philippines and catastrophic to the Visayan Islands, leaving thousands homeless. Some of the hardest hit locations are remote where it is difficult to provide assistance. Governments and organizations like the International Red Cross have helped with money and resources, but more is still needed for the rebuilding effort. In today’s age of technology many people around the world wanted to help those affected by the typhoon; the internet and crowdfunding have been able to raise the necessary funds to do just that.
Large US-based international sites such as Crowdrise, GoFundMe and Indiegogo generated significant funds to help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. These sites had scores of campaigns from around the world. GoFundMe eventually counted over 230 separate campaigns to help affected people. The not-for-profit crowdfunding platform Crowdrise, at one point featured a rotating carousel of Haiyan aid campaigns at the top of its front page. Two notable high profile efforts were the $65,000 raised by the rock band Linkin Park for their Music for Relief campaign, and the $1.7M that United Airlines raised.
A number of more successful campaigns on Indiegogo came from the Philippines. Three Filipino women started a website to raise awareness of the devastation in Northern Cebu, and they turned to the site with a goal to raise US$1,000. Their campaign was so well received, they raised over sixteen times that amount. The Filipino design community on 99designs began a campaign with a goal of raising US$25,000 and matching the contributions received. They fell a little short of their goal but due to the Flexible Funding option on the site, they were able to contribute $20,000 to the American Red Cross Typhoon Appeal.
Local Philippine crowdfunding sites also saw a number of projects started to help raise money for victim relief. One called the Leapfrog Project was established by a Filipino-American architecture business on Socialproject in order to help raise funds to rebuild the devastated areas and provide homes and shelters for the people who lost theirs. This reached its first funding milestone. Another campaign, The Butterfly Project, sought to provide portable and easy to assemble housing for those affected by the typhoon. While it only raised $315 online, the project managed to attract the support of Starbucks Philippines, who subsequently gave it P525,000 (US$11,600).
Another local crowdfunding site, The Spark Project, showcased a few projects dedicated to helping the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan recover what they lost. Goodness Rising’s goal was to be able to fund the cost of building materials to rebuild the homes of one hundred families that were destroyed. Love 4 Iloilo set a goal to raise money for one thousand relief packs to help displaced families in the Northern Iloilo region of the Philippines. Not only were homes destroyed, but these communities were cut off from food, clean drinking water, and needed medical supplies. This platform’s policy to allow fundraisers to retain what they raise has meant that the modest contributions still provided some help.
Other notable efforts from the region include the funds for Bancas raised by the WWF through the Earth Hour Blue campaigns on Crowdonomic. This helped to get 18 Filipino fishing boats back on the water after the disaster. StartSomeGood, Chuffed and GIvealittle have also featured Typhoon Haiyan campaigns.
Crowdfunding is now an established source of support for humanitarian relief. The efforts to help respond to Typhoon Haiyan have shown it can also play a valuable role in disaster recovery. One thing to look out for, however, are sites that may not provide a Flexible Funding option. If it is a Fixed Funding, then any money raised that does not meet the goal amount must be returned. If you are looking to contribute, do your homework and make sure the campaign is a reputable one and that the money you provide is going to a worthwhile cause.