Donations Management Support Annex
In PDF format
Updated: June 3, 1999
This annex provides guidance on the Federal role in Donations Management
in a major disaster or emergency. Any reference to donated goods
and services in this annex means unsolicited goods and unaffiliated volunteer
State and local governments have primary responsibility for the management
of unsolicited goods and unaffiliated volunteers.
The Federal Government supports State and local governments and voluntary
organizations in establishing a system to manage and control donated goods
and services. The system will provide a method for any potential
donor to consult and negotiate with donations specialists prior to the
collection and sending of goods and volunteers.
This guidance applies to all agencies with direct and indirect donations
responsibilities under the Federal Response Plan (FRP).
Full use of existing voluntary organization donations management resources
is encouraged before the assistance of the Federal or State governments
The role of the Federal Government is always in support of the disaster-affected
State and local governments. State and local governments, in coordination
with voluntary organizations active in disaster, are ultimately in charge
of Donations Management.
Federal and State governments look principally to those voluntary organizations
with established donations structures already in place to receive and deliver
appropriate donated goods to disaster victims.
Necessary response activities for Donations Management that may be undertaken
by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) before a Presidential
declaration will be closely coordinated with State officials.
The Federal Government encourages cash donations to recognized nonprofit
voluntary organizations with disaster experience.
The Federal Government encourages individuals interested in volunteering
their personal services to affiliate with a recognized nonprofit voluntary
organization to facilitate their involvement in disaster relief activities.
Donations management response activities are necessary before a Presidential
disaster declaration and hence require rapid coordination to mitigate potential
donations problems in the response phase of disaster operations.
In the event of a disaster causing large-scale loss of life and destruction
of property, donors (both domestic and foreign) will offer assistance of
virtually any kind, including cash, goods, equipment and loan of equipment,
and the services of individuals.
Offers of assistance will be made directly to all levels of government
— Federal, State, and local — as well as to voluntary organizations.
In less-than-large-scale or “high-visibility” disasters, Donations Management
will be handled by voluntary organizations with or without Federal or State
Concept of Operations
Management of donations requires a cooperative effort by Federal, State,
and local governments; voluntary and community-based organizations; the
business sector; and the media.
FEMA supports the State Donations Coordinator and voluntary organizations.
The affected State and local governments, in conjunction with their voluntary
organization partners, are in charge of developing donations management
plans and managing the flow of goods and services during disaster response
and recovery operations.
Federal support provided by FEMA (as the Federal coordinating agency for
Donations Management) and other Federal agencies may include:
Enhanced voluntary organization coordination;
Assistance in establishing a Donations Coordination Team and a Donations
Technical and managerial support;
A national network of information and contacts to assist donations specialists
in the field; and
Donations management software and communications support as necessary.
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Make early contact with the key Donations Coordinators of the national
voluntary organizations and the affected region for donations situation
Based on the affected region’s request for assistance, provide donations
program guidance, a Donations Coordinator, and other assistance as appropriate;
Continue to provide support and assistance to the field, especially regarding
international offers of assistance, large corporate offers, or politically
sensitive collection drives; and
With the appropriate Federal agencies, coordinate international offers
of assistance that meet acceptance criteria established by the affected
State and FEMA.
Department of State
The Department of State, Office of Diplomatic Contingency Programs
(DOS-A/DCP), serves as the conduit to all American embassies and consulates
worldwide, providing them with information on FEMA, State, and voluntary
organization policies and procedures on donated goods and services.
As required, coordinate all actions and special issues with related agencies
(e.g., Agency for International Development, U.S. Information Agency) concerning
foreign offers of assistance and special requirements;
Serve as the coordinating agency on DOS actions for domestic disasters
under the FRP;
Inform the Emergency Support Team (EST) donations specialist of offers
being made by foreign governments and provide assistance as necessary;
Coordinate with the EST donations specialist to ensure that all foreign
donors receive acknowledgment of the assistance they provide.
Department of the Treasury, U.S. Customs Service
In coordination with the EST donations specialist and DOS-A/DCP,
expedite the entry of approved donated items into the United States.
Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service
In coordination with the EST donations specialist and DOS-A/DCP
as necessary, expedite the entry of approved individuals into the United
Federal Emergency Management Agency
On establishment of a Regional Operations Center, the region designates
a point of contact for donations at that facility.
At the State Emergency Operations Center, other State facility, or Disaster
Field Office, the FEMA Donations Coordinator assists the State Donations
Coordinator as needed in:
Establishing a Donations Coordination Team;
Setting up a Donations Coordination Center, including a donations hotline;
Ensuring that the appropriate donations receiving and distribution facilities
are established and operating effectively;
Coordinating with FEMA-State Emergency Information and Media Affairs staff
on public service announcements, press releases, and other media-related
Coordinating with FEMA Voluntary Agency Liaison (VAL), congressional affairs,
community relations, logistics, Defense Coordinating Officer, and other
Federal agencies as necessary; and
Preparing input for situation reports, briefings, and VIP visits as necessary.
Department of Transportation
Arrange for transportation as necessary;
Provide information on transportation routes; and
Provide guidance and support on transportation rules, regulations, and
requirements as needed.
Department of Defense
Provide logistical support and other resources as needed and available.
General Services Administration
Provide supplies, services, equipment, and facilities as needed.
The Donations Management Guidance Manual (FEMA 278) includes information
on preparedness and planning, checklists, standard operating procedures,
donations management flow diagrams, public information materials, and voluntary
organization points of contact.
Terms and Definitions
Donations Coordination Center
Facility from which the Donations Coordination Team operates.
It is best situated in or close by the State Emergency Operations Center
for coordination purposes. It must have enough rooms for a phone
bank, processing by team members of calls from prospective donors, and
negotiating the shipping and receiving of needed items.
Donations Coordination Team
A Donations Coordination Team is made up of representatives of voluntary
organizations and State and local governments who have a vested interest
in the effective management of unsolicited donated goods and voluntary
services. The team is managed by the State emergency management agency.
Its mission is to implement the State Donations Management Plan, with the
aim of keeping unneeded goods and services out of the disaster area.
FEMA Voluntary Agency Liaison (VAL)
Each FEMA region has, and FEMA offices in Hawaii and Puerto Rico
have, a FEMA VAL. There is also a VAL at the National Emergency Training
Center in Emmitsburg, MD. The VAL is responsible for providing advice
on voluntary organization coordination and assisting States in developing
State Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). In disaster
operations, the VAL assists the local leadership in convening broad-based
meetings at which voluntary organizations, FEMA, and the State share information
about the status of response and recovery activities.
Donations other than cash (usually materials or professional services)
for disaster survivors.
National Voluntary Organizations Active
in Disaster (NVOAD)
NVOAD is the umbrella organization of established and experienced
voluntary organizations that provide disaster services in all phases of
emergency management. NVOAD fosters cooperation, communication, coordination,
and collaboration among voluntary organizations. It also encourages
close working partnerships among voluntary organizations and government
at all levels. It is not operational as an organization.
Also known as a “spontaneous” or “emergent” volunteer; an individual
who is not formally associated with a recognized voluntary disaster relief
Largely unsolicited, donated items that are not addressed to a specific
Donated items that have not been requested by government officials,
voluntary disaster relief organizations, or other donations-related personnel.
Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster
VOAD is a coalition of voluntary organizations organized at State
and local levels. In nondisaster periods, it meets to discuss emergency
management issues and encourage cooperation, communication, coordination,
and collaboration among voluntary organizations. In the response
period, each individual organization functions independently, yet cooperatively.