Disaster Philanthropy Playbook
In the wake of a significant disaster, successful long-term recovery will depend upon a large number of partnerships and collaborations, which take several forms and include a wide host of players. Collaborations among grantmakers can leverage greater impact.
Collaboration between funder is extremely important as it holds the power to convene a host of stakeholders for strategic planning, fosters a long-term outlook among many government and nongovernment members of a region, and pools funds for projects that otherwise might not be possible.
The convening power and collective brain trust of the philanthropic community is a powerful force. When philanthropic organizations share and pool resources, and collectively set forth a strategy that is comprehensive and well-informed, all facets of community life benefit.
Advanced planning is always preferable. Knowing how your organization will respond and with what resources will allow for a more effective and collaborative response.
Collaborative actions funders can take include:
- Pooled Funds
- Cash contributions to national disaster-specific pooled funds.
- Cash contributions to a community foundation fund(s).
- Establishment of new funds specific to a disaster.
- Develop a mechanism for how the general public can contribute to the pooled fund and promote that fund and its purpose in order to secure all possible donations.
- Identify and decide on the parameters of the pooled fund: giving targets; donors; criteria for disbursements.
- Convene philanthropic and nonprofit colleagues in order to develop a coordinated response strategy; this will help to:
- Maximize resources
- Curtail duplication of efforts
- Establish clear lines of communication and information-sharing
- Collective advocacy on behalf of your community with regards to the allocation and disbursements of federal recovery dollars.
- Encourage and support collaboration among your grantees, emergency management personnel, first-responders, and long-term recovery group members.
- Coordinate and streamline a funding process that allows nonprofits to submit one grant application for funding multiple sources.
- Lead and fund a collaborative community-driven long-term fundraising campaign to support ongoing recovery needs.
- Establish relationships before a disaster strikes your community. Build trust and shared goals in advance, so that you are ready to act when necessary.
- Involve a large cohort of colleagues in your collaborative efforts—philanthropic, nonprofit, and government agencies—and determine how you will work together following a disaster.
- Pooled philanthropic funds can have tremendous impact. Even if your organization does not consider itself a “disaster grantmaker”, when a disaster strikes your community, your organization will be called upon to act. Disaster grantmaking is a continuation of your mission because the community you currently support will need your leadership and commitment even more after a disaster.
- Know your local nonprofits and understand the services they will need to immediately deploy to the community following a disaster.
- Look for ways to educate funders and nonprofits on your region’s vulnerabilities and determine how to affectively mitigate those risks. Support the practice of regularly coming together to learn and advance the work on these issues.