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Tips for Community Leaders: Managing Donations

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2018
2 pages

This "tip sheet" from the National Mass Violence Victimization Resource Center suggests policies and procedures for community leaders to use in managing donations solicited and unsolicited following a mass violence incident (MVI) that may occur in their jurisdiction.


The first suggestion is to have a plan for managing donations and volunteers in advance of such an attack. If not, community leaders should rapidly create a central nonprofit entity to channel funds. This involves incorporation papers, a bank account, website, and PayPal account. The responsibility for managing funds should be clear. A website reference from the Harvard Business Review on this issue is cited. It is further suggested to avoid stressful and prolonged negotiations needed to disburse money that is donated in victims' names by using new models of giving. An alternative to having a community nonprofit is suggested. It would involve using the National Compassion Fund, a safe, transparent way for the public to give directly to the victims of mass casualty crimes. The website address of this organization is provided. Other suggestions pertain to organizational structure; recordkeeping; the development of a formula for how victims, survivors, and families will be helped; and the retention of counsel for mediation or alternative dispute resolution regarding distribution of donations. Suggestions on "What Not to Do" are also outlined. One of those suggestions is not to maintain hidden or secret procedures regarding donations. Accurate and timely information will squelch rumors and mistrust.