How to Provide Impactful Support as a Company in the Wake of a Disaster

You work for a company that cares, and suffice it to say, your company engages in several corporate philanthropy initiatives throughout the year–hosting fundraising campaigns and events to raise funds for your various causes.

But what can you do when a major disaster occurs?

Whether this disaster happens in your own backyard, or halfway across the world, there’s a good chance your employees will want to do something to help. We recently bore witness to this with the earthquake in Nepal.

Corporations–big and small–have the capacity (and the responsibility!) to step up and provide impactful corporate emergency aid.

Though by no means is your company required to be emergency response experts, you should know how to engage in this type of philanthropy if you’re hoping to make a meaningful impact.

Emergency response is a tricky business.

The logistics, resources and time necessary to provide emergency response, to those who need it most, is an ongoing challenge for non profits, aid workers and governmental bodies alike.

But there are certain things that the corporate community can do to provide support in a meaningful way. Below I’ve provided some tips and ideas to help you get started:

1. Listen to the experts & secure a charitable partner. 

Firstly, be sure to listen to the experts and secure a charitable partner. Don’t do this alone and ensure that you’re taking the advice of professionals on the ground. Otherwise, you risk your company’s ability to provide meaningful impact.

2. Create a corporate matching fund for employees and customers. 

One of the most simplest and effective ways to support disaster relief efforts is to provide monetary aid. Emergency aid can be very logistically challenging, which is why most charities request monetary donations. They often have the largest impact in such situations.

A great way to encourage employees and customers to support relief efforts is by committing to a matching fund. That way, donors get the reassurance and the bonus of knowing their donation will have double the reach.

And don’t forget to communicate and share information about the charitable partner you’ll be supporting!

3. Use your connections, followers and broader network to spread the message of need. 

Businesses have store fronts, vendor relations, investors, business partners, customers, Twitter followers, Facebook friends and advertising budgets that can be utilized to communicate the need for support. Use your resources to your advantage (and to the advantage of your charities and beneficiaries).

4. Create a disaster preparedness plan to provide resources and expertise for future disaster relief efforts.

There are some companies that go beyond monetary and awareness-based support by providing resources to help with emergency aid. Due to the fact that disaster relief efforts are logistically straining in nature, resource-specific support must be something developed and operationalized far before a disaster even occurs. This is specifically true if you’re providing foreign aid.

There have been a handful of companies that have created incredible programs to help support emergency response efforts. For instance, in a previous blog post, Why Newsjacking Should be Part of Your Cause Marketing Strategy, I showcased the amazing work of Airbnb and their disaster response tool.

Companies like Verizon are also doing their part to provide resources that enable impactful assistance. Most recently, Verizon declared that they would waive charges for long-distance calls and text messages from the US to Nepal to support people reaching out to loved ones in the wake of the disaster.

Following these suggestions and tips will help your company maximize its impact in times of need–allowing you to help more people and make a huge difference.

Does your company provide support to those in need after a major disaster? How do you ensure that your support has the largest impact possible? Please feel free to share your thoughts, ideas, opinions and best practices in the reply section below (or Tweet to me about it @CSRtist). Remember to follow the blog and follow me on Twitter for more inspiring tips on effective corporate good!

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