Frequently asked questions
What is ShelterBox?
ShelterBox is a charity that delivers aid to families devastated by conflict or disaster, to give them durable shelter and the tools to rebuild communities.
Our global network of supporters, staff and volunteers make it possible to deliver aid to some of the most remote communities in the world.
What aid does ShelterBox provide?
We deliver the essentials families need to begin rebuilding their lives after disaster.
Each disaster is different, and so is every community. We don’t believe that one size fits all, so we spend time talking to affected families to make sure we provide the right support at the right time.
For some disaster-hit communities, our family-sized tents are the best solution until they are able to start rebuilding their homes. In other disasters, heavy duty tarpaulins, ropes and nails are needed to create emergency shelter or to patch-up damaged buildings.
We know that a home is much more than bricks and mortar or tarpaulin and tent pegs. That’s why we also offer other disaster relief items that are essential for survival and can help to turn a shelter into a home. Explore our ShelterBox aid in depth.
Who funds ShelterBox?
ShelterBox is funded by public donations.
We rely on your support to help us hasten the day where no family goes without shelter when disaster strikes.
Who supports ShelterBox?
Her Majesty The Queen Consort is ShelterBox’s President and Royal Patron. Find out more about her relationship with ShelterBox.
ShelterBox is also supported by our global network of ShelterBox affiliates and a range of partners, including Rotary International.
How do you decide where to send aid?
When disasters and conflicts occur, our ShelterBox operations team make careful assessments to ensure that ShelterBox aid is right for the situation.
We put families first and strive to reach as many vulnerable communities as we can that have been affected by disaster.
With your help, we give families the shelter and the tools they need to start their own recovery. Unfortunately, the need is ever growing and we aren’t able to help everyone.
That is why we have developed our ‘Response criteria’. These questions help us make those tough decisions. Most importantly, they help us prioritise the most vulnerable families around the world who wouldn’t otherwise receive the vital support they need.
How do you deliver aid?
We deliver aid to wherever it is needed, by any means possible. Our teams travel by foot, boat, helicopter or even tuk-tuk to get there. Whatever it takes.
How do you source your aid items?
Our items are specially sourced and designed to ensure that the families we support have exactly the aid they need.
The aid is designed to withstand extreme conditions, from torrential rain to hurricane winds, and to last for a long time – until families are able to rebuild their homes.
For this reason, we are unable to accept donations of items.
Do you work with other aid organisations?
We often collaborate with other aid organisations, as well as with organisations within communities, to make sure that we are reaching all of the families in need of shelter.
How do you safeguard the families you help?
At ShelterBox, we are proud to have safeguarding policies in place designed to protect the families we help, our operational staff and our incredible response team volunteers who travel to disaster areas with us, and the local communities we work with.
How can I make a donation?
You can donate single or monthly payments to ShelterBox on our donate page.
Alternatively, you can donate by the following methods:
- Cheque: These can be made payable to The ShelterBox Trust and sent to Falcon House, Charles Street, Truro, TR12PH.
- Bank transfer: Please make your donation using the below details:
- Account Name: ShelterBox Trust
- Sort Code: 53-50-37, Account Number: 54004853
- Once you have made the transfer please don’t forget to use our contact form to ensure we have the details about your donation.
- Telephone: +44 (0) 300 0300 500
- Via Just Giving
- PayPal: via the PayPal or Just Giving app
- Direct debit: These can be set up via our donate page or by telephone: +44 (0) 300 0300 500
Can I give donations to a specific location or disaster?
In order for us to prepare for future disasters by positioning aid around the world and to react quickly when disasters do take place, we are not usually able to accept time or location-specific donations.
By giving ShelterBox a general donation, you are helping us use your money to make the most difference to families in desperate need of shelter.
How much of my donation will directly help to provide families with shelter?
Around 7op of every pound raised is used to give families a place to call home after disaster. The remaining 30p is invested in raising this vital money so we can continue to support families after disaster.
We work this out in the same way as many charities in the UK, using financial results from the last three years to make sure events in any single year don’t have a distorting effect.
What is Gift Aid and how do I register for it?
Gift Aid is a government initiative that enables us to increase your donation by 25% at no extra cost to you.
If you are a UK income and/or a Capital Gains tax payer, then you can Gift Aid your donation. This means 25% more safe and secure shelters and 25% more essential building tools just by opting to Gift Aid your donation.
I'm having problems donating online, what do I do?
We’re sorry you’ve had problems donating online, if you can give us as much details as possible that will help us resolve the problem and keep our website running smoothly.
If you were unable to complete a donation on our website then please don’t hesitate to call us on 0300 0300 500 and Supporter Care Team will be able to take your donation over the phone.
What is the cost of a ShelterBox?
The price of a ShelterBox is a representative price based on the cost of a range of items that we often give to families in disaster situations.
The cost of the items vary from time to time, but we want to keep the ShelterBox cost the same for consistency. The average cost of a ShelterBox is £590 – but one type of ShelterBox does not fit all and the contents can vary depending on the needs of the families we are helping.
We work hard to understand how we can best help families in lots of different disaster situations and we send a combination of essential items to best suit their needs.
In some cases, our specialist emergency tents might be the best solution for families in one disaster-hit community. In others, heavy duty tarpaulins, ropes and nails might be what’s needed most. Some families might need mosquito nets to protect them from disease, whilst others might need blankets to keep them warm at night.
Some of these items will be delivered in a sturdy green ShelterBox, but in some cases, it’s more practical to send them separately.
Why do the costs of aid items change?
We buy our aid items from a range of suppliers from around the world, and these prices can change from time to time. Our contracts are reviewed each year to ensure we are getting the best value possible. For these reasons, the prices of the items can go up or down over time.
Delivering essential shelter aid into the hands of the vulnerable families who need it costs more than just the price of the individual items. We also need to pay for transport and other distribution costs involved in delivering aid around the world. To ensure the price of each aid item represents this full cost, we’ve added these additional amounts on to the individual aid items.
These costs are worked out annually based on the previous year and also change over time. We update the prices of our aid items once a year.
How much are the additional costs that are added to the aid pricing?
The cost of transport and other distribution costs represent around a third of the cost of the aid prices. The additional costs are based on the previous year’s costs and may change each year. As every disaster is different every response is different and so the costs are representative average costs.
How can I contact ShelterBox?
You can send us a message or give us a call on +44 (0)300 0300 500.
Visit our Contact Us page for more information.
How do I change my details or update my contact preferences?
If you would like to let us know about a change of address, name or email address please contact us.
If you would like to opt out from promotional paper mailings or emails please contact us.
How can I get involved with ShelterBox?
Volunteers are an integral part of the ShelterBox Team.
They not only help to pack and hand-deliver our aid to communities, but also help to raise awareness and funds for ShelterBox too.
Join the ShelterBox Team by becoming a volunteer.
If you are not based in the UK but would like to find out if there are volunteer roles available in your country, please take a look at our affiliates.
How do I book a speaker for an event?
Booking a ShelterBox speaker to give an online talk is one of the most inspiring ways to hear about our work.
Book a virtual speaker now by completing the virtual speaker booking form.
How can I make a complaint?
We take complaints seriously and will deal with your concern in a timely and efficient manner.
Learn how to make a complaint and what information to share with us here.
Why do you have a York postal address?
During our busy campaigns, we use a mail sorting house in York to help us process the large number of kind donations we receive from our supporters.
What is ShelterBox Book Club?
ShelterBox Book Club is a service provided in return for a monthly payment – every six weeks, you can be discovering new cultures through diverse book choices and characters that are inspired by real-life stories around the world.
Can I buy a gift membership for someone else?
If you have a bookworm in your life who would love to be a member of Book Club, you are able to buy a gift membership in 3, 6 or 12 month packages.