Edit: Effective Altruism Poland launched a project with a similar goal of recommending the best charities for Ukrainian aid. You can find a list here: https://efektywnyaltruizm.org/blog/help-for-ukrainians and their methodology here: https://efektywnyaltruizm.org/blog/how-do-we-evaluate-organizations-helping-ukrainians . The project is ongoing and you can help by submitting the organization profile here: https://forms.gle/rAdACBs9JFZXLPTk6
My first post here. I've decided to research Polish charities which currently provide help for Ukraine, leveraging my knowledge of the country (Poland) and language (Polish). With Poland bordering Ukraine it becomes one of the hubs for war relief, therefore I believe that knowing who is who might be beneficial for contributing to the most effective organizations (also, there were a couple of questions here at forum seeking the most cost-effective charities for Ukraine). I've decided to research (where possible) their general profiles, types of aid provided, recent incomes, overhead and expenditure towards the causes they champion, number of workers, some example projects related to Ukraine, examples of what your money can buy etc. I hope that more experienced EAs could provide guidance which of these variables are the best predictors of impact.
This is my first foray into such a project, all feedback is appreciated. I'm starting with three example charities (no real key to choosing them), so you can get some sense of what I'm after - I will be especially grateful for opinions whether it is valuable to continue this write-up (in a collaborative manner perhaps? Could be especially useful for other countries such as Romania or simply for double checking findings so far). Or perhaps this is an ineffective way of going around the issue? (maybe the cost-effectiveness of charities cannot be well established now or there is some other problem with this approach). Also, Polish government is working on coordinating aid on a larger scale, so it might turn out that these considerations might be outdated soon as it's possible govermental coordination could beat any open-source attempts - I'm tracking this.
On a technical level: I've recalculated all monetary values to USD following the current conversion rates: 1 USD = 4,11 PLN and 1 PLN = 0,24 USD. Different charities provide their yearly fiscal statements in totally different formats and so far I've found it difficult to unify them, so that they could be compared - also I'm not sure how to treat different categories of costs incurred. For example salaries - are they a dead-weight cost or should they be counted into spending which is directly contributing towards aid? - after all paid workers can directly provide aid eg. doctors or psychologists. Overall, I'm not very happy with financial side of these profiles, but since this is a rough demo - shipping beats perfection.
In no particular order:
A. Caritas Polska (Caritas Poland)
General profile: charity under auspices of Polish Catholic Church, in its current form running since 1990, part of international Caritas. In Poland it mainly runs care homes for children, elderly, terminally ill, disabled etc. (https://pl-m-wikipedia-org.translate.goog/wiki/Caritas_(organizacja)?_x_tr_sl=pl&_x_tr_tl=en) but they engage in aid in Europe, Africa, South America and Asia as well. My personal observation is that it is probably one of the more recognizable charities in Poland. Their 2020 fiscal report (most recent one) https://caritas.pl/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/sprawozdanie-merytoryczne-2020.pdf states they have 124 workers (around 90 in full-time workers' equivalent), with further 328 gig workers and further 11 volunteers working for more than 30 days in 2020. Overall had 17 699 042 USD of income, and spent 17 893 584 USD, with 1 763 594 USD of internal, fiscal and administrative costs and 1 788 502 USD in salaries. Costs and salaries together took out 19,851% of the total expenditure.
Donation URL: https://caritas.pl/
Ukrainian relief: According to their site on help for Ukraine: https://caritas-pl.translate.goog/ukraina/?_x_tr_sl=pl&_x_tr_tl=en they aim to supply the money towards buying food, hygenic products, blankets, sleeping bags, matresses, field kitchens and psycholgical aid. For example, they state that 24,33 USD donated is a week of food and water for one family. 41,36 USD is a pack of basic medicine and hygenic products for an older person (not stated for how long). 92,45 USD is two packs of hygenic products and food (not stated how large etc.). They've contributed 24 329 USD on day one of invasion towards helping Ukraine. Previously, before large scale invasion they contributed twice around 10 000 USD - mainly towards education and leisure of children. They also ran help within Poland aimed at helping Ukrainians to integrate into Polish society. Their 2020 fiscal report (most recent one) states additionally that they've helped the homeless in Kiev who could not get medical attention otherwise due to Covid and helped with gas and medical bills for one kindergarten in Zhytomyr. Also funded food packs for 40 people - not many more details can be extracted.
B. Fundacja Polskie Centrum Pomocy Międzynarodowej (Foundation "Polish Centre for International Aid"):
General profile: established in 2006, international aid organization focused on humanitarian, developmental and disaster-relief aid. Worked in Liban, Ukraine, Nepal, Peru, South Sudan, Uganda, Tajikistan, Palestine, Georgia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Zambia and Bosnia. Can deploy Poland Emergency Medical Team - one of few of such teams in Europe - within 24h. This EMT is capable of independent operation for 2-4 weeks, carrying medicine and wound dressings for up to 1400 patients, food, water purification systems and electricity generators (alternately it can operate as a field hospital with 20 beds, self-sufficient for 2 weeks). More info: https://pcpm-org-pl.translate.goog/polskie-centrum-pomocy-miedzynarodowej?_x_tr_sl=pl&_x_tr_tl=en
2020 Fiscal report supplement https://pcpm.org.pl/pliki2015/2022/02/Informacja.dodatkowa-2019.pdf states that per previous fiscal year total income was 4 552 770 USD, expenditure was 4 434 512 USD, with salaries accounting for 28,70% of expenditure, while energy and materials took 13,09%.
Donation URL: https://pcpm.org.pl/ukraina
Ukrainian relief: According to their Facebook https://www.facebook.com/PCPM.NGO/ so far they collected around 250 000 USD for Ukrainian aid. Working with their partners, they currently focus on evacuation of people from Eastern Ukraine (Kharkiv) westward, across Dnieper River. Their Ukraine-relief related website https://pcpm-org-pl.translate.goog/ukraina?_x_tr_sl=pl&_x_tr_tl=en states they help in Eastern Ukraine since 2014, providing water, electric stoves, powerbanks, electric generators, fuel, psychological aid. Also, their provided convoy of aid and doctors for Maidan protests in 2014, and renovated a dozen or so schools and a centre for migrants in Romashki (Vinnytsia Oblast).
C. Polska Akcja Humanitarna (Polish Humanitarian Action)
General profile: founded in 1992 humanitarian relief agency. According to most recent (2019) report https://www.pah.org.pl/app/uploads/2020/10/2019-PAH-RAPORT-ROCZNY-PL.pdf they had a budget of 13 381 242 USD and helped 777 963 people in Ukraine, Poland, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Kenya, South Sudan and provided emergency aid in Columbia, Venezuela, Djibouti.
Donation URL: https://www.pah.org.pl/wplac/?form=ukraina and https://www.siepomaga.pl/pah-ukraina
Ukrainian relief: According to recent news https://wiadomosci-gazeta-pl.translate.goog/wiadomosci/7,114881,28159083,100-tys-uchodzcow-z-ukrainy-pah-potrzeby-sa-ogromne-pomoc.html?_x_tr_sl=pl&_x_tr_tl=en and collection page https://www.siepomaga.pl/pah-ukraina , they are currently a) providing food and hygiene products to refugees both in Ukraine and in Polish border zone b) trying to re-establish their previous aid efforts in Eastern Ukraine (at this point: mainly food and hygiene products for elderly, disabled, children etc.) - they state that their one time aid pack is sufficient for three months and consists of: food supplies (138,68 USD), hygiene products (31,63 USD) and adult diapers (12,16 USD). So far they've collected at least
1 216 476 USD towards Ukrainian aid alone.
2019 report states that they've aided 11 159 people in Ukraine with psychological aid, food, training for farming in backyards etc.
This is great! We definitely need more of this. If there are any Ukrainian EA people who could do the same with respect to Ukrainian charities that would be really impactful.
This conflict just started, it will have a long, long tail. People will keep on needing help, and we can potentially help very effectively or end up wasting opportunities to do so because we lack knowledge about these charities...
So keep this up please!
Thanks Michel for your effort to research these charities! As so many others, I am now wondering what would be the best way to provide support to Ukraine. Of course one would like to find a reasonably effective charity and above all avoid possible scams. Your article is already helpful in providing some insight into a few of the alternatives. Of course it's not quite so simple as to say that the charity with the least amount of overhead cost is always able to provide the most benefit on-site so it's obviously important to examine them from many angles as you have done. This is not easy. Many thanks for your sincere effort!
Thank you :)
I appreciate that I can donate to Polish Centre for International Aid via their Facebook fundraiser for Ukraine, instead of having to figure out crypto.
Good catch :)