It is hard to fathom that yet another hurricane is barreling across the Atlantic. Tropical Storm Nate just passed near Costa Rica and is expected to make landfall over the weekend in Louisiana. For Louisiana, this represents the beginning of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, through a likely direct hit. But, water in the form of rain and associated flooding is regrettably not news to the region.
In light of predicted damage and devastation, here are my tips for how the philanthropic community can continue to be most effective:
Wait to Give
We suggest waiting until more is known about the storm’s impact and actual needs before allocating funds. By pausing for just a short amount of time, we can collectively understand where the unmet needs are, where governmental funds are going to be allocated, and what the key issues of concern are (water, housing, health, etc.). This can certainly involve supporting immediate relief efforts, but we also urge you to allocate some of your funds for medium- and long-term recovery also. This strategic approach to disaster giving still involves support for first-responder organizations, while also focusing attention on funding long-term recovery needs that will become evident weeks, and months from now.
Select Your Strategy
The Disaster Philanthropy Playbook, a free national resource created by the Center for Disaster Philanthropy in close partnership with the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, offers sound guidance on how to effectively allocate resources to disasters. It offers a host of strategies that funders can use to help communities. From Housing and Legal Services to Mental Health and Mitigation, the Playbook is an essential resource.
Advance Your Values
My advice on this question is simple. Consider your organization’s values and priorities when you give to support:
- Organizations with whom you have existing relationships.
- Organizations that have a pre-existing presence on the ground.
- Organizations whose missions and programmatic activities match your foundation’s mission and programmatic activities. Advance your own internal expertise!
- Issue areas that are unfunded or underfunded. Know what other private funders, governmental bodies, and local communities are prioritizing—and then support issues area outside of those priorities.
- Vulnerable populations—children, medically dependent, older adults, new Americans, and others.
Leverage Our Expertise
Finally, I encourage you to leverage the deep expertise of our consulting services team by calling us at (206) 972-0187. The only full-time, national resource dedicated to effective disaster giving, we are here to help you maximize your impact on recovery efforts. Make sure your dollars and efforts reach as far as possible with our wide range of consulting services including collaborative disaster funds, disaster grants management, strategic planning, research & analysis, and technical assistance.