Keep in mind that money and supplies may be donated by many different individuals and organizations, for many different reasons. Financial donations may have different restrictions placed on their application depending on the context in which they were received. Below are some suggestions about the ways that monetary donations could be used. Before applying donated money to any expense, consider where the money came from and whether any restrictions were placed on their application.

Resource Coordinators should be aware of the following ways monetary donations can be used:

To support the search

One of the primary reasons people donate money is to aid in the search and recovery of the missing child. While the police will lead the investigation, there may be costs associated with the coordination of the Community Response Plan, particularly as time passes.

  • Based on consultations with the searching family or the police, different ways to bolster the search for a missing child may be explored. For example, billboards or posters may be used to increase public awareness, but may incur substantial costs.

  • Should the police request the assistance of volunteers who have been coordinated through the Community Response Plan, there will be expenses involved in maintaining these volunteer efforts (i.e. food and refreshments for the volunteers, supplies for the volunteers, recommended tools such as nametags, cameras, First Aid kits, etc.)

  • The public may also donate money to assist in keeping the investigation and the attention ongoing beyond the initial police and media response.

To support the searching family

Money is often donated by concerned members of the public who want to support the searching family through the crisis.

  • Often parents are unable to work during the search effort and therefore, financial donations can be critical in meeting the basic needs of the searching family (i.e. paying bills, buying groceries, supporting the needs of the other children, purchasing household supplies, enabling transportation, etc.)


The public may donate money to be allocated to a reward. It is the decision of the searching family (in consultation with the police) whether or not a reward will be offered for information pertaining to the case.

  • It is important that proper research be done before making the decision of whether or not to offer a reward. There is little evidence to support the effectiveness of a reward in a missing child case.

Donating to a trust

It may be possible to set up a trust in honour of a missing child through a financial institution. Where possible, this would offer the public a place to donate money that would be set aside for the missing child and/or the searching family.

  • This option reduces certain risks for the donors and the recipient, as money can be directly donated to the financial institution and subsequently be accounted for as part of the accounting process.

  • Involving a financial institution in this way will ease the burden placed on the Community Response Plan Team as money will not have to be managed by volunteers.

  • This option can help limit the risk of resources being misused or exploited since access to the account can be set up to involve only trusted signatories.

  • Having money put into a trust may help ensure there are necessary funds for long- term needs such as counselling.

Missing children services organizations

When a child goes missing there is a heightened awareness about issues pertaining to missing and exploited children. Individuals may choose to donate money to organizations that work in this area. Such organizations are generally not-for-profits that may be able to allow donors to allocate their donations to a certain activity, such as search expenses for a certain missing child.

  • Most of these organizations provide essential supports to searching families and the police.

  • Some organizations work to prevent and educate the public on issues surrounding missing and exploited children.

  • Identify an agency that has assisted in your community, or an agency that the searching family has close ties to, and advocate that financial donations be directed to that organization. If the organization receives the donations directly, they may be able to issue tax receipts to the donor.