FAQ

Duet's Current Giving Change

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Why the current change in giving strategy?

Right now, Greece is experiencing a strict lockdown due to a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases. As such, many of our partner stores are closed down and movement is severely limited for our families leaving them unable to either request or pick up their items. However, this limited movement and access to goods, work, and services have left our families in more need than ever before.

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What changed?

In order to ensure our families are able to hit the ground running after the lockdown ends, we are taking general donations that are going to fund our families’ Duet budgets. After the lockdown ends, the families will resume requesting items as usual. With the funds available to immediately address their needs, your donation will be automatically matched to requested items, resulting in a quick turnaround time. Then, just like other Duet donations, you will be notified exactly what your donation went to.

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How will our Duet families be affected?

Our Duet families are having a difficult time in lockdown and will need support after it ends. Our aim with changing our strategy is to make sure that support is readily available to them as quickly as possible.

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How long will it last?

Well, like with everything else this year, we cannot predict exactly how long it will last. What we can tell you is that Duet’s commitment to supporting our families will remain unchanged and we will continue to adapt to the circumstances. We are greatly looking forward to showing you how your donations support our families!

Donating

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Is there a way to donate something as a gift for someone or in their honor?

Yes! Select the “Give in Someone’s Honor” option when you check-out, and we will immediately notify your honoree of your gift. We’ll also send them information on the gift’s journey from donation to pick-up and loop you in too!

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After I donate an item, where does the money go?

Duet prioritizes transparency at every step. As soon as we receive your donation, we direct the money to the local store via wire transfer or International PayPal transfer. This typically takes 1-3 business days. After the money is received, the local store owner will mark the item as “Ready to Pick-up” and we automatically notify the beneficiary. The very next day, the beneficiary family can walk in the store, show the store owner a unique pick-up code, and head home with the item. And the best part? You can track every stage of every item on the Donation Tracker sent with every donation confirmation.

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Can I subscribe monthly to a family?

Yes! By deciding to make your donation monthly, you’ll become part of “The Neighborhood”, our exclusive community of our most committed donors who know that ongoing monthly support helps provide stability for our refugee families. You can join by clicking "Join the Neighborhood" at the top of this page or you can also click “Make this Monthly” at check-out for both our COVID-19 or Refugee operations.

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How long does it take for a beneficiary to receive an item?

Usually, anywhere from 2-5 days. We’ll update you exactly when it happens!

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Is there an app?

Not currently for donors. Duet is a web-based platform accessible at giveduet.org in any internet browser. There is, however, a purpose-built and streamlined app for our refugee families to request, edit, and keep track of their item requests month-to-month as well as a special platform for our local store partners.

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How do I know that the item gets to the family?

We’ll make sure of it - and let you know when we know! Duet prioritizes transparency and maximizes check-ins at every stage of the donation process. At item pick-up, we ask both the store owner and the beneficiary to verify that the item was successfully handed off. Furthermore, the beneficiary sends us a confirmation photo of the item as soon as they’re home! For LA operations, both the restaurant and the beneficiary confirm successful drop off of meals each week. The beneficiary then sends us a confirmation photo of the food to ensure everything meets Duet’s standards.

Our Families

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Why are there families on Duet’s giving page?

We want to introduce you to the families so you can see who your donations go to. We prioritize transparency and feel that you should get to know these amazing families too. Your donations go towards supporting these families as they rebuild their lives, and we want you to be involved in every step. These families have opted into sharing their stories which they tell us in their own words, and their privacy is prioritized at every step.

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How can I know these families are really in need?

We know because we ask the people who are the best informed to make these judgments. In both Greece and LA, Duet sources families exclusively from recommendations from NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) who work closely and in-person with these families. We ask these agents to recommend who could benefit the most from the boost of becoming a Duet family and go from there.

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Why Greece? Why LA?

Greece is the gateway to asylum in Europe for many Syrian, Afghani, African, and Iranian refugees. Our first operational location of Lesvos, Greece, has multiple refugee camps that house thousands of refugees - many of these families head to intermediate housing on Lesvos and, later, in Athens, Greece, after they receive preliminary asylum. Greece is a location where many families begin the process of rebuilding their lives - exactly the point in time when the Duet family’s assistance can be most pivotal. LA is our home! Duet started in LA with a determined team of USC alumni and current students. When COVID-19 struck LA hard, the Duet team knew we had to respond quickly. By fast-tracking plans to bring individualized philanthropy to the US, we devised a short-term solution to deliver healthy, warm meals weekly to families hit hardest by the economic downturn. We’re excited to bring the full Duet experience to LA in 2021 as we work to build a network of small, local stores and passionate donors.

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How do you communicate with your beneficiaries?

For our Greece-based refugees, we use Facebook Messenger. For our beneficiaries who lack strong English, we have a team member who speaks Arabic and is adept at using translation tools for Farsi. For LA, we text our beneficiaries directly.

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How long are families with Duet?

Currently, our average aid timeline is between 10 and 12 months depending on the needs of each beneficiary.

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How does Duet tackle the issue of autonomy?

We want to help families rebuild their lives and we understand for that to truly happen, they must be able to thrive on their own without building aid dependency. Providing aid for a set amount of time helps us focus our efforts on donating items that help families regain a basis of normalcy from which they can rebuild - items like household items, technology, toys, and proper-fitting clothes and shoes. Further, we believe that no one knows what they need better than the recipient themselves. Our beneficiaries are given the ability to tell us exactly what they need to improve their lives without judgment or interference by the humanitarian actor.

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You talk about partially-resettled refugees - what does that mean?

Duet works with refugees who have received semi-stable housing - often from an organization or the Greek government. This means that our families are not living in camps; instead, they are living in temporary apartments or communal living spaces. This is often not their final destination nor their ideal living conditions (most apartments come bare with limited supplies); however, it marks an important step in their road to rebuilding their lives. These new apartments represent safety and identity - no longer are they living in identical flimsy and insecure tents or storage containers. They finally have a space suited to springboard them into a new phase of their lives; however, having scant resources, they need your help to make it a home.

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Where can I learn more about refugees?

UNHCR and the International Rescue Committee have excellent information about the issues surrounding the refugee crisis. Furthermore, we at Duet have charged ourselves with the initiative to share current news and information about the issues facing our beneficiaries on all of our social media platforms - follow us at @giveduet on Instagram, @give_duet on Twitter, and Duet on Facebook.

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Where can I learn more about homelessness in LA?

LAHSA is a fantastic starting point. Furthermore, we at Duet have charged ourselves with the initiative to share current news and information about the issues facing our beneficiaries on all of our social media platforms - follow us at @giveduet on Instagram, @give_duet on Twitter, and Duet on Facebook.

Our Operations

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Is Duet a non-profit?

We are operating as a non-profit with full transparency for every dollar you give us, and we are awaiting our 501c3 approval to make it official.

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Why local stores? Wouldn’t Amazon be so much easier?

Easier doesn’t always mean better. Partnering with local stores and businesses to supply the items for our beneficiaries means we are investing in the local economy and putting dollars into the community while helping our beneficiaries. It also represents an opportunity for our beneficiaries to practice the language, meet their neighbors, and become integrated with the local community as they interact. Finally, it also cuts down on wasteful shipping and promotes the local economy to offset some of the economic costs associated with being a community on the frontlines of a humanitarian disaster (tourism losses combined with a long-lasting economic depression) - two big wins in our book.

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How does Duet cover costs?

Thanks to the support we receive via additional donations to support operations, a group of philanthropic supporters who believe in our mission and support our operations annually, and in-kind donations, we have been able to keep our operations running, giving beneficiaries the help they need and deserve.

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Can beneficiaries request whatever they want?

Within reason, yes! We hand-pick what stores we work with, partly based on what they sell. None of our stores sell alcohol, weapons, or other dangerous items. Additionally, we scan all item requests to make sure nothing inappropriate is requested. But, within these guidelines, they can request whatever they’d like up to a certain budget based on how many members they have in their families. The families know best what they need to rebuild their lives.