Giro555, The Netherlands
- Population: 16.7 million
- Year of foundation: 1984 (informal), 2007 (formal)
- Staff size: 3
List of members:
- UNICEF Nederland
- Red Cross, Netherlands
- Oxfam Novib
- Cordaid, Mensen in Nood
- Save the Children
- Stichting Vluchteling
- World Vision
- Terre des Hommes
- ICCO/Kerk in Actie
- CARE Nederland
- Plan Nederland
The Stichting Samenwerkende Hulporganisaties (Foundation of Cooperating Aid Organisations, or Giro555) became an official foundation in 2007 when the Asian Tsunami appeal made clear that more formal cooperation was necessary.
Giro555 members had informally cooperated on joints appeals since 1984 (during the East Africa famines), when national public media had called for one organisation and one appeal, rather than having to deal with several organisations.. By 2013 Giro555 had raised €789 million. The 2015 Nepal earthquake appeal was its 42nd appeal.
There are currently eleven member organisations.
The Board consists of three external members and the executive directors of each member organisation and they each have one vote. New members can be accredited and regional specialist guest participants may join for relevant appeals. The goal of the Samenwerkende Hulporganisaties, or Giro555 as it better know among the public, is to remain a flexible, ad hoc coalition.
An appeal usually lasts two to three months. During an appeal the three part-time staff are supported by a swiftly assembled crisis team.
Funds are distributed according to a distributional key based on each organisation’s fundraising and their capacity to deliver aid worldwide.
Presidency rotates between the five largest member organisations.
Member organisations deliver both financial and operations reports. Giro555 then publishes a joint report on its website.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Court of Audit (Algemene Rekenkamer) carried out evaluations on the 2010 Haiti appeal.
The decision to launch an appeal is made by the board, and based on an assessment of which members will participate, the interest of the media and an assessment of the engagement of the Dutch public.
Giro555 has an informal cooperation with national public media who are generally keen to support an appeal. With exceptionally large disasters (Asian Tsunami, Haiti, Philippines) a national television appeal is initiated and will generate high revenues. Appeals are kept to no more than two per year to prevent public “appeal fatigue”.
Giro555 divides appeals into two categories; rapid (Philippines) and slow onset disasters (African droughts, conflicts). The readiness of both the media and the public to support an appeal is clearly stronger for large, sudden natural disasters than is it for recurring droughts and complex conflicts. Although not all slow onset appeals are televised there is a strong aim for substantial fundraising results (African droughts € 25 million).
Successes and highlights
Although research in the Netherlands continues to show a reduced willingness to give, joint appeals are able to generate substantial nationwide support. Rapid disasters in particular, generate a feeling of unity and a desire to donate, and the appeals for the Asian Tsunami and Haiti generated the highest revenues to date.
- Asian tsunami 2004/2005. Revenue: € 208 million
- Haiti 2010. Revenue: € 111 million
- Kosovo 1999/2000. Revenue: € 52 million
- Earthquake Pakistan, India and Afghanistan 2005. Revenue: € 42 million
- Central America (Mitch) 1998/1999. Revenue: € 37 million
Giro555 does not initiate structural partnerships with the corporate sector as this would mean competing with its member organisations. During appeals however, various companies offer assistance and make donations in creative ways.
Challenges and innovations for the future
- Strengthen the common goal of member organisations to reduce competition between them.
- Improve mechanisms for accountability (increasingly demanded by both the public and the media).
- Address the potential for “appeal fatigue”, especially for slow onset disasters.