U.S./world – Starting over – Sept. 11 boomerang

The American Red Cross is giving itself a dose of disaster relief as it tries to mend an image broken by its response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The charity’s board of governors has named Harold Decker, its general counsel, as interim CEO.

He succeeds Bernadine Healy, who resigned last week under board pressure.

Healy has been criticized for arrogance, aggressive fundraising after the Sept. 11 attacks, wanting to use Sept. 11 contributions to meet other needs, and backing Magen David Adom, the Israeli Red Cross, joining the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The Red Cross board also voted to end active fundraising for its Sept. 11 fund, and to back the Israeli Red Cross.

The Red Cross said it expected the $547 million pledged so far to cover immediate and long-term relief efforts, The New York Times reported Oct. 31.

David T. McLaughlin, chairman of the Red Cross board, says he worries about the charity’s public image and promised the Red Cross would work tell the story of its accomplishments, The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported Oct. 31.

The shakeup at the Red Cross sheds light on key issues for major fundraising appeals and for managing big disasters, AlertNet reported Nov. 1.

Those issues include whether to designate funds for specific projects, the impact of online fundraising and the need for shared databases among charities to ensure the best use of resources, AlertNet said.

Also responding to criticism of its response to the Sept. 11 attacks, the Advertising Council of New York aims to reorganize its operations, The New York Times reported Oct. 30.

Critics said council managers moved too slowly to enlist ad agencies to respond, produced fragmented one-shot ad campaigns instead of an organized response and were too quick to follow White House directions instead of crafting their own strategy, the Times said.

The outpouring of donations to Sept. 11 relief funds also is hurting charities that use direct-mail marketing to raise money, DMNews reported Oct. 29.

Some mailing list professionals expect charities not involved in disaster relief postponing, cutting back or canceling their mailings, DMNews said.

For full story, go to Red Cross, Sept. 11 fund, Chronicle of Philanthropy, AlertNet, Ad Council and DMNews.

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