It's a fair question. It's being asked right now about our East Africa Crisis Appeal.
Australians are generous by nature. But when we dig deep, we want to know that our money is actually helping those who need it most.
So here are three ways your donation will help in the East Africa crisis.
First, your donation will help people simply survive.
It will fund mobile health clinics that go from village to village, weighing children and providing vitamins and nutritional supplements to kids who are acutely malnourished. It will provide water filters and tablets, so those who have no choice but to drink contaminated water have a way of doing it safely. It will fund food parcels and give families the means to buy what food they can.
Second, it will help people prepare for the next crisis to come.
Aid is about ensuring that vulnerable people who are caught up in a crisis have the means to protect themselves against future crises. So your donation could go towards community action plans, training in sustainable farming methods, drought-resistant crops, water storage systems … or even something as simple as hygiene education to prevent water-borne diseases.
Third, it will reduce reliance on future aid by strengthening local agencies.
The lifesaving work happening right now - the mobile health teams, the food drops, the water wagons and the malnutrition treatment centres - are all being run by people from the very places the drought has hit hardest. Aid funds give people the opportunity to learn skills, make plans and create services to benefit their communities.
International aid is a complex, multi-layered process. Can it be more efficient? Absolutely, and we look for ways to improve every day.
But every day, we see so many ways that your generosity makes a real difference to real people, in real time.
So please, don't stop giving.
If you would like to donate to our East Africa Food Crisis Appeal, here's how. Every little bit counts. https://www.redcross.org.au/campaigns/east-africa-food-crisis-appeal.aspx
This crisis is too big to ignore.