Funding preparedness pro tip: Try the Ingredient Strategy

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

When I need a new rain jacket, I might purchase a Marmot or North Face coat. But when there’s a rainstorm, it’s the waterproof Gore-Tex material inside that keeps me warm and dry. Likewise, when I purchased my computer, I didn’t just purchase a Dell laptop, I purchased the Intel Inside processor that makes it run fast.

Gore-Tex and Intel Inside are famous examples of ingredient branding, a strategy that can also be applied to funding disaster preparedness.

What is “Ingredient Branding”?

I learned about the Ingredient Branding from Karen Saverino CDP’s first communications director.

According to the interwebs, “Ingredient Branding is a marketing strategy where a component or an ingredient of a product or service is pulled into the spotlight and given it’s own identity. … To connect with consumers brands need to create visible value, and by adding a branded ingredient, they can clearly show additional value.” (Many thanks to The Agency Arcenal for their helpful definition.)

How does this strategy connect with philanthropy or disasters or preparedness?

In my previous roles as a program officer focused on disaster response and recovery, I found that asking grantees to include protection in proposals was a win. It was a surefire way to weave activities that unduly expose people, particularly women and children, to harm, into each program or project.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), “Protection is about advocating for and supporting actions that aim to reduce and prevent people’s exposure to risks and to ensure respect for the rights of individuals by those responsible, in accordance with international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law.”

Examples of protection programming include preventing gender-based violence, trafficking of persons and reducing physical harm from armed conflict.

I now realize that the grantmaking strategy I employed above is Ingredient Branding! I’d very much like to believe that the work funded by these grants was made stronger with targeted funding that protected the rights of individuals in harm’s way and promoted the security of grantee partners’ staff. That allocating between 10-20% of the total grant to protection improved the outcome of the other 80-90% of the funding focused on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), shelter, education and food security. That the dual-focused investment was mutually beneficial.

Fast forward to the present day in my role at CDP. During calls with fellow philanthropists, we are often asked how to effectively fund preparedness. We often turn to these Basic Tips to frame our conversation.

Today, I share with you a pro tip: Incorporate the Ingredient Strategy when it comes to preparedness funding.

Here are some practical examples of how this could work:

  • Top up a grant by 10% to support an organization’s continuity of operations planning process.
  • Add additional funding to a proposal to ensure that your grantee’s information technology is fully cloud-based.
  • Ask a long-standing grantee where they need maintenance or repair work on their physical space to make it more disaster resilient.
  • Provide advanced funding so client-serving organizations can pre-purchase or bulk purchase supplies needed for distribution.
  • Support training for a grantee in disaster case management, disaster response and recovery.
  • Invest in staff capacity (more people or more hours) so that when a disaster occurs – and we know it will – an organization has a deep enough bench to absorb the extra burdens on people’s time.

A “preparedness” grant isn’t the only way to help ensure that your grantee partners are ready when a disaster strikes. You can employ the ingredient strategy by adding a preparedness element in your grants, which can boost the impact of your support and the organization you are funding.

September is National Preparedness Month. This year’s theme is “Prepare to Protect. Preparing for disasters is protecting everyone you love.” I invite donors and grantmakers to mark this month by investing in security, risk mitigation and capacity of community partners that is crucial to disaster preparedness.

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