Building Sustainability into Humanitarian Aid Operations: An Efficient Frontier Approach to the Selection of Recipients for Medical Supplies Donation
School of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Özyein University, Turkey
Mark E. Ferguson and L. Beril Toktay
Darla Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina, USA
Volume 7: 2013, pp. 49-78; ABSTRACT
MedShare International is a non-profit organization that collects unused medical supplies from health care providers in the U.S. and distributes them around the world to health care facilities in need. MedShare operates primarily on a sponsorship basis, where sponsors (typically individuals, non-profits, corporations, and faith-based organizations) pay for the cost of one or more containers earmarked for specific recipients. MedShare has been emphasizing giving that is not tied to a particular recipient, and they aim to grow this portion of their budget over time. In addition, to target a broader donor base, they have started emphasizing the environmental benefits of their mission. Accordingly, MedShare is interested in expanding their allocation strategy to include both humanitarian and environmental objectives, and to have a systematic procedure for doing so. This case introduces the humanitarian and environmental impact measurement challenges and ethical issues that arise in the selection of recipients, outlines viable measures, and develops a bi-criterion framework for recipient selection. While the discussions and examples are based on the MedShare model, the trade-offs, learning, and proposed methodology are applicable for a wide range of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) with humanitarian objectives. Finally, in terms of the Triple Bottom Line (TBL = People, Planet, Profits) paradigm, this work presents significant analytical and strategic insights into developing an effective business model for an NGO. To be consistent with the non-profit nature of the organization, however, the focus of such modeling is limited to humanitarian and environmental aspects only.