Client Focus | 17 March 2022

Aid in Ukraine: what’s the most effective way to give? 

The invasion of Ukraine has triggered an outpouring of global aid and philanthropy. Here’s how you could help those most impacted.


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When Russia began its invasion of Ukraine in the early hours of 24 February, the reaction around the world was one of horror. Pretty quickly, people started asking a very important question: what can I do to help those affected?

One charitable institution playing a vital role here is the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC). Established in 1963, the DEC is an umbrella organisation of UK aid charities that helps coordinate and manage aid appeals in response to humanitarian crises around the world.

The DEC has raised more than £150 million as part of its Ukraine campaign – more than £1 million an hour for every hour the campaign has been active. These donations go through highly reputable charities, with established connections in Ukraine and proven track records on delivering effective relief.

Coutts’ parent company, NatWest Group, pledged to match donations by clients and staff to the DEC up to £2.5 million. And, thanks to the generosity of those who donated, that amount has already been reached – with clients and staff raising more than £6 million in total so far. Anyone who hasn’t donated yet can of course still do so.

If you want to donate to the DEC, you can visit their donations page here.

Other charities are also playing vital roles of course. The British Red Cross, UNHCR, Help Ukraine, Depaul International, International Rescue Committee, Save the Children, World Central Kitchen, Unicef, and Age International are also active on the ground, and are welcoming donations. 

Coutts Institute Director Victoria Papworth said: “Of course, in times of crisis the government can act quickly, but no one can act as quickly as an individual pledging their money to a mass appeal.”

She added that it’s worth remembering that the invasion has caused a refugee crisis, so those who want to help might consider additional donations to that particular cause.

“We will be offering suggestions to clients in the coming weeks on how to support the refugee charities resettling the three million people who have fled the country, around half of which are estimated to be children,” she said.


Coutts clients can donate their Coutts Crowns to the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal through THANK YOU FROM COUTTS, our client reward programme. 

Donations start at 25,000 Crowns. But if you don’t have enough, you could consider transferring what you do have to another THANK YOU FROM COUTTS member to make up the difference.

The simplest way to donate, redeem and transfer Crowns is by logging into Coutts online. And don’t forget that any Crowns you’ve earned between 1 October 2020 and 30 September 2021 will expire on 31 March 2022.

Making sure you make a difference

Even with the best of intentions, donations given to aid a cause can easily get lost in the chaos or diminished by the time they reach those in need.

For example, while there has been an extraordinary response in collecting and sending aid to Ukraine, getting it across the border can be difficult and time consuming. Food aid means little if produce rots for want of effective storage and transportation infrastructure.

All this means that in times like these it is critical that money raised in support of Ukraine is donated wisely, to charities that can effectively work with local partners on the ground and ensure the impact of aid is as great as it can be – such as the DEC.

The need for philanthropy elsewhere

Ukraine, understandably, is dominating headlines at the moment, but the unfolding crisis there does not mean situations elsewhere are growing any less severe.

In Yemen and Syria, humanitarian catastrophes in the face of war and social unrest continue. In Afghanistan, drought and governmental collapse are contributing to widespread famine. These disasters continue regardless of events in Eastern Europe.

And such is the complex and integrated nature of the globalised world, the war in Ukraine may exacerbate problems elsewhere. Russia and Ukraine, for example, are two of the world’s largest producers of wheat, and export heavily to African countries. Disruption in regional agricultural capacity may impact food supplies where they are most needed.

Victoria said: “The world is more connected now than ever, and it’s important for philanthropists to continue giving to places out of the spotlight too.”

Find out how we could support your philanthropy.


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