The Beirut Disaster Relief Fund was set up as a response to the Beirut blast on August 4th 2020. The team at Impact Lebanon felt a sense of duty to support by channelling funds from the diaspora to Lebanon. As we had carried out a number of small-scale crowd-funding campaigns and had experience in receiving donations, allocating funds to NGOs and reporting to donors, we decided to launch a fundraiser on JustGiving within an hour of the catastrophe. Initially, we had set the target at £5,000 in line with the scale of our previous fundraisers.
Given the magnitude of the explosion and the global media exposure it received, the size of the support was higher than anticipated. People around the world were eager to help in any way possible. As a result, the fundraiser went viral, with high-profile individuals and celebrities also sharing the link. Before midnight on 4th August 2020, we had raised over £1,000,000. Donations kept pouring in from Lebanese and non-Lebanese alike; we also received donations from third-party fundraisers, such as Sotheby’s “To Beirut with Love” charity auction, Raphaelle Macaron and Studio Fidele. The total amount raised for the Beirut Disaster Relief Fund is £6,692,017 (roughly $9,152,759 at the time of currency conversion). By the end of the fundraiser, over 171,000 individuals had donated an average of £37 per donor.
To manage this fundraiser and meet the growing needs on the ground, Impact Lebanon’s existing and new volunteers mobilised to support. A number of Lebanese in the diaspora and at Impact Lebanon reached out and volunteered their time, skills and energy selflessly. To safeguard the fundraising processes and properly manage the funds, a number of teams mobilised with appropriately skilled individuals, including: the Vetting team, the Monitoring and Evaluation team, the Finance and Legal team, the Marketing and Communications team, the Partnerships team, and the Disaster Relief for the Beirut Explosion Impact Report team and the Top-Up committee. We also partnered with LIFE charity on the vetting, allocation and transfer of funds, joining efforts to avoid duplication of work and streamline disbursement.