The May 27 earthquake in Java seems not to have created much of a fundraising ripple. Compared to Hurricane Katrina and the Indian Ocean tsunami, it really didn't amount to much. An article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy takes a look at the issue: Charities Win Mixed Results From Appeals to Help Indonesian Earthquake Victims.
What's the problem? Donor fatigue? Timing (Memorial Day weekend)? Unsympathetic victims? Distance?
None of those things. The problem (if you can forgive me for calling this a problem) is a relatively low death toll.
It's a sad thing, but what drives U.S. media coverage of disasters around the world is death toll. And media coverage is what drives strong donor response to these things. Yes, that's just plain ugly. But it's the world we live in.
If you're in international relief fundraising, and wondering if you should spend a lot on raising funds for a given disaster, monitor the death toll. Or monitor the amount of mainstream media coverage. The geopolitical importance of the event, the depth of need, even the moral righteousness of standing with the victims -- those things don't drive attention to a disaster. It's all about death -- the more death, the more media attention.
(For more factors that drive donor response to disasters, see What makes donors respond to disasters?)
On the other hand, the Chronicle article shows that a number of organizations have been able to quickly raise funds for the Indonesia quake online. This is where the internet really does its job: It's fast, and can be in people's inboxes while the story is still hot. So a disaster that may be "too small" for a response through traditional media may still work well for online response.