Gifts In Kind: Everything You Need To Know
Gifts-In-Kind (GIK) are an essential part of the work we do. Thanks to generous donations from partners in the U.S. and Europe, we’re able to deliver essential medicines, equipment and supplies where they’re needed most, empowering local health care workers to be able to better care for their communities.
What exactly is GIK?
Gift-in-kind, or GIK, is a type of charitable giving in which contributions take the form of tangible goods rather than money — whether that be supplies, equipment and materials, or services and time.
At Project HOPE, our GIK program consists largely of donated pharmaceuticals and medical supplies. In-kind donations maximize the effectiveness of our programs. Sending these provisions to the field is an essential part of our mission to strengthen local health systems, train health care workers and meet global health standards.
In times of natural disaster and humanitarian emergency, in-kind donations of medicines and supplies are especially vital to help ensure that affected communities have what they need to survive.
Project HOPE has responded to some of the world’s largest humanitarian crises and natural disasters over the past three decades, including major hurricanes like Maria and Dorian. Medicines and relief supplies are a crucial part of our emergency response effort and help us provide ministries of health and health facilities with the supplies they need most.
A complex infrastructure
The idea behind GIK is simple—Project HOPE works with partners to send medical treatments and supplies to those in need. But the reality of securing and sending heavily regulated products (some with expiration dates) across borders is quite complex. From sender to receiver, an entire network of partners and health facilities must arrange and transport GIK, and there are many things to consider on the route from donation to delivery to ensure goods end up where they’re supposed to go. Project HOPE and our field team must carefully assess the specific needs the goods are meant to address, strategically select the items that best meet those needs, and review the rules and regulations for importing the goods into the country receiving them. Project HOPE never sends supplies or equipment that are not specifically requested by health authorities.
The last thing we want is to deliver GIK without a detailed infrastructure in place to ensure the items reach the people who need them. Even with the best of intentions, without a comprehensive strategy, in-kind donations sometimes don’t reach their intended destination effectively. For example, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, news reports showed containers full of donated food, water and baby supplies left sitting on the airport tarmac, going to waste.
To make sure our GIK arrives successfully, our process is hands on, beginning with a careful assessment of greatest needs, the identification and selection of products that meet those needs, and close collaboration and communication with various in-country partners to map out all of the logistics.
Project HOPE’s GIK program
GIK is part of our DNA. For more than six decades, we’ve delivered aid and hope to tens of millions of people in more than 100 countries around the world, providing over $3.1 billion worth of medicines and supplies.
HOPE was a driving force in the establishment of the Partnership for Quality Medical Donations, a global alliance of nonprofit and corporate organizations committed to ensuring guidelines for quality medical donation policies and practices.
Gift in kind to support our programs on the ground
Today, we work with corporate donors and other INGO partners to deliver products and equipment that will support our programs around the globe.
We’re specifically focused on delivering GIK to support our work in four key health areas: fighting infectious diseases; confronting noncommunicable diseases; improving maternal, neonatal and child health; and responding to disaster and health crises.
What does that look like?
In Macedonia, for example, we’re strengthening the health system’s ability to provide high-quality patient care through our innovative Strategic Medical Re-Supply Program.
The SMRP is designed to help select country governments improve the quality of patient care as they transition their health care systems to meet global health care standards. We do this by working with GIK partners to provide donations of priority medical materials to a network of partner health facilities. Materials include pharmaceutical drugs, consumer disposable products, and medical equipment. Our close partnership with the corresponding Ministry of Health and health facilities allows hospitals and clinics to save and divert some of their limited financial resources to other priority areas.
“Your program — I cannot live without it.” Dr. Lenche Neloskah, Director Geriatric Hospital, Skopje, Macedonia
“Using innovative program designs like the Strategic Medical Re-Supply Program, Project HOPE remains one of the most valuable partners of the health system in the country.” Dr. Zarko Shutinovski, Director of the Sector of Donations, MoH of Macedonia
The process of securing and delivering GIK
Our GIK process at Project HOPE includes a thorough assessment of needs to guide product selection; close collaboration and communication with partners, ministries of health and medical facilities in country; a mapping of logistics, tapping in-country expertise; and an investment in monitoring and evaluation.
It all starts with a careful assessment of needs to inform product selection. We work with our field offices to identify specific programmatic or country health needs that can benefit from donated products, then we identify institutions that can receive them, like Ministries of Health, hospitals or health clinics. Finally, we determine the logistical feasibility of sending products across borders.
This assessment process then guides our product selection process, at which point we collect needs lists from programs and conduct a medical review to ensure products are suitable and to identify potential product donors.
Once the right products have been selected, we begin the donor solicitation process. And once the donor agrees to donate products, the flow of goods begins: From the donor, to our warehouse partner, to transport via sea or air to the destination country, we oversee shipping from door-to-door so we can be sure our GIK lands in the hands it’s intended for. Once goods are delivered and clear customs, the special cargo is picked up and transported to our recipient institutions.
After delivery, we continue to work closely with the receiving ministries, hospitals and health clinics to ensure products are being properly stored and used. Sometimes these monitoring and evaluation efforts include follow-up visits that allow us to tabulate inventories, review journals and patient records, and interview hospital staff and patients. Then we can report back to our donors with confidence on how their products were utilized, and who benefited from them.
Sending supplies, equipment and materials around the world — often to hard-to-reach places — is a feat of logistics. It’s not unusual for in-kind donations to travel hundreds or even thousands of miles before reaching their final destination. There are many options to get this done, which our teams carefully consider. For the fastest route, HOPE can send by air – but there are many restrictions to this, mostly around hazardous items like bug spray or certain kinds of equipment. Cargo ships are somewhat less restrictive, but usually arrive slower than aircraft. Once in country, HOPE employs trucks, vans, and sometimes more creative solutions like donkeys or helicopters to get the medicines to their final destination – to sick and vulnerable people.
When help is needed the most
When disaster strikes, our emergency response teams quickly mobilize to deliver lifesaving medicines and relief supplies that help health care workers provide critical health services in their communities.
In recent responses, GIK has played a critical role in ensuring we’re making the greatest possible impact and meeting the most urgent needs.
After Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas, our emergency response team partnered with local organization Restoration Abaco to distribute the first emergency supplies and hygiene kits to survivors on the island. In all, HOPE has distributed more than $552,000 in medicines and supplies in the Bahamas.
In 2018, Project HOPE donated $42.3 million in essential equipment, medicines and medical supplies around the world. In Guatemala, we delivered lifesaving medicines and supplies to survivors of the Fuego volcano eruption. In Indonesia, our medical team was one of the first to arrive and deliver medical supplies and medicines to those impacted by the earthquake and tsunami on Sulawesi. And in 2017, as one of the first nonprofit organizations on the ground in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, we delivered over $2 million in medical supplies, including 1,500 vials of insulin that went to the territory’s most vulnerable insulin-dependent patients, like eight-year-old Nayeli.
How you can help
Whether responding to natural disasters or helping health facilities stock their shelves, Project HOPE works worldwide to deliver medical supplies where — and when — they’re needed most. This work wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of partnering corporations and NGOs, and we work to make the process as efficient and effective as possible.
If you are representing a company or organization that would like to donate new goods in original packaging to Project HOPE, please complete our GIK donation form.
Unfortunately, we aren’t able to accept GIK donations from individuals, but there are still many ways to support our mission. Cash donations go a long way towards multiplying our impact. Make a one-time or monthly gift to help us deliver more lifesaving aid, training and tools and save more lives across the globe, now and in the future, at projecthope.org/donate.