Join The NonProfit Times: or Become a member

Subscribe: Print Publication or Newsletter

Stay connected.
Stay informed.

Getting Relief To Typhoon Victims Still Tough

By Mark Hrywna - November 14, 2013

Disaster relief agencies are still struggling to reach those in need with supplies because of debris-strewn roads, shattered infrastructure and bad weather, four days after an historic typhoon devastated parts of the Philippines.

Typhoon Haiyan, known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, affected more than 9 million people across the island nation. The category-5 typhoon brought sustained winds of 145 miles per hours, leaving a trail of massive devastation, with 250 reported dead as of Monday but 10,000 feared dead.

“Disaster relief organizations are just doing what they have to do to break through the logjams of lack of communication and transportation,” said Bob Ottenhoff, president and CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP).

“The issue we’re seeing is that the destruction was so total, so absolute in the central Philippines that relief workers having a hard time providing emergency shelter, food and water, the basic services you would expect after a disaster,” Ottenhoff said. Getting relief to needed areas will continue to be an issue until the airport is up and running and roads are repaired, he said.

“The situation today is desperate in terms of food, water and shelter, we know that what’s also occurring is, hundreds of thousands of people have lost their homes, their livelihoods and there’s concern about disease and communications,” he said.
Many relief agencies said fundraising totals might be available later in the week. In the meantime, other organizations already have committed millions of dollars:
AARP Foundation has established a relief fund for typhoon victims, to be matched dollar for dollar up to $500,000
Global Giving has received $135,775 funding to date, with a goal of raising $500,000.
New Haven, Conn.-based Knights of Columbus is donating $500,000 to efforts in the Philippines, where it has had a presence since 1905 and has hundreds of thousands of members.
Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF) has pledged $500,000.
The Western Union Foundation will make an initial $100,000 grant to Save the Children and match qualifying donations to NGOs serving the impacted region.
Baltimore, Md.-based Lutheran World Relief (LWR) has made an initial commitment of $50,000.

Many factors will come into play for fundraising efforts, according to Patrick Rooney, associate dean for academic affairs and research at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Among the key variables will be how large an area is affected by the disaster, which tends to drive media coverage, which in turn drives donations. “It’s self-reinforcing: the more casualties, the more damage, the more media coverage and the more coverage usually means more philanthropic support,” he said.

Media coverage has been typical, Rooney said, in the sense that the destruction is getting coverage but it’s not lead coverage anymore in newspaper or television reports.

Many disaster relief organizations have deployed staff or materials to the Philippines but few had preliminary estimates of fundraising. Mercy Corps had a team leave its Portland, Ore., headquarters today bound for the Philippines while the organization had raised nearly $1 million so far.

The response to the 2010 earthquake in Japan was relatively minor in comparison to other recent disasters, Rooney said, because it’s considered an affluent, industrialized nation. Another aspect that could affect American philanthropy will be the proximity to the U.S. There was considerable support for the Indonesian tsunami in 2005 but the response to Haiti was substantially greater than Japan, in part because of its proximity to the U.S., Rooney said.

Based on previous disaster giving, typically about two-thirds of fundraising is generated within the first two months and some three-quarters after three months, Rooney said. Four weeks after Superstorm Sandy struck the Northeast last year, fundraising had reached $244 million. “The first week or two, for almost all disasters, it starts off pretty flat,” he said.

In the pre-texting era, the median gift in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Indonesian tsunami in 2005 and Hurricane Katrina in 2006 was $50 while the average gift ranged from $125 to $135.
Texting may actually lower those figures because donors are limited to giving $10 or $20 at a time, Rooney said. Donors giving by check or online can give whatever amounts they want. Texting donors would have to text more than once to give as much as a one-time $50 or $100 online donor. “It may well lower the average,” he said.

United Way Worldwide launched a Disaster Rebuilding Fund, to support long-term rebuilding and recovery efforts. American Red Cross deployed two disaster relief specialists on Saturday to assist in assessment and relief efforts. Communication is still very limited in the hardest-hit areas so Red Cross also will send two telecommunications specialists and a satellite system in the coming days.

AmeriCares has delivered almost $230 million in humanitarian aid to the Philippines since 1985, including relief supplies for survivors of last month’s earthquake as well as several typhoons in the past five years. The Stamford, Conn.-based organization pre-positioned emergency medicines and supplies to help families displaced by the storm. An emergency shipment was under way with enough medical aid for 20,000 survivors, including antibiotics, wound care supplies and pain relievers. The organization also is providing emergency funding for partner agencies in the Philippines to purchase and distribute relief supplies.
LWR teams will meet with representatives of the United Nations, government agencies, local partners and churches and community groups to coordinate a response. It likely will include a cash-for-work program similar to the program implemented after Typhoon Bopha in 2012.

Operation USA pre-positioned water purification chemicals in Manila that were quickly delivered. The Los Angeles, Calif.-based international relief agency has worked in the Philippines since 1986 and called on long-standing partnerships with local agencies to effectively aid recovery efforts.

Heifer International reported that all of its staff members in the Philippines were safe and en route to the central region to assess the damage to five of the organization’s projects in the areas most affected by the typhoon.

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) reported that efforts to reach the city of Tacloban in Leyte province are complicated by roads blocked by debris as well as strong winds and torrential rain resulting in many flights to the damaged airport being canceled. MSF has 23 staff currently in the Philippines with plans to increase that to more than 1000 in the next few days. Bad weather prevented teams from traveling from flying from Cebu to Tacloban. The Cebu airport is congested and MSF cargo planes likely will have to divert to Manila.

UNICEF, Catholic Relief Services, Save the Children, Shelter Box USA and World Vision are among the U.S.-based charities accepting mobile donations of $10 by texting via the BBB Mobile Giving Foundation.
The mGive Foundation has 11 campaigns featuring shortcodes for donors to give via text with the biggest being the State Department, which has designated five charities.

“It’s not just a relief issue but how do we rebuild that community to what it was,” Ottenhoff said. “This is sometimes a hard story for donors to understand. The media attention is on the immediate relief – the horrors we see on television or read about – it’s harder for us to think through, what’s going to be need long-term,” he said.

There’s a lot of uncertainty right now and media attention drives donation dollars, Ottenhoff said. “What we wanted to do was make sure donors who did want to do something but didn’t know what to do, had a safe place where they could put their money. What we’ll do with it, we’ll learn from NGOs in the field, do our own research, and be able to invest donor dollars in a safe and effective manner,” he said, focusing on mid- and long-term recovery.


Sponsored Podcasts

Welcome to the Raise & Engage podcast, a filters-off series for nonprofit professionals hosted by Blackbaud's straight-shooting expert Danielle Johnson Vermenton. During this open-mic session, you’ll hear honest advice to help YOU do more for your cause.

Episode 6: The Power of ‘No’ at Work|| daniellejohnson-76

You have a job description, but on any given day, you're probably doing dozens of things outside the scope of that description. Combine that with the challenge of a fast-paced environment and the shifting priorities of funders, colleagues, and board members and it’s easy to fall short of doing your best. By being mindful of your limitations and capacity—and saying “no” when your plate is full—you can actually do more for your cause. In the sixth installment of the Raise and Engage podcast Danielle Johnson and Robin Anderson discuss the power of saying “no” at work.

Episode 5: Professional Development: Getting Un-Stuck|| daniellejohnson-76

In the most recent episode of Raise + Engage, Danielle is back with Brian Reich from little m media to discuss how nonprofit professionals can stay motivated and energized in their day-to-day roles. Brian shares his experience working with nonprofits and the lessons and tips he's learn from and shared with them over the years, including tips for avoiding a professional rut, creating forward momentum in your career and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. If you're considering making a career move or want to ensure you're on the right path, you won't want to miss this inspo-packed episode!

Episode 4: Apps and Hacks to Stay (Mostly) Sane || daniellejohnson-76

Episode 4: Apps and Hacks to Stay (Mostly) Sane, is all about tips, tricks and tools for sanity. Blackbaud’s own interactive product marketer, Julia Lenz, joins host Danielle Johnson to share some high tech. (and no tech.) productivity tips to help nonprofit professionals stay sane in the crazy world of philanthropy.

Tune in to hear:

  • Tips for how to spend the first 30 minutes of your day
  • The benefits of 15 minute meetings
  • Why notebooks are still relevant to a successful organization
  • Ideas for better managing your inbox
  • Why you should take lunch outside the box
  • ...and much more!
Don’t forget to visit the #NoFilterNonprofit Hub afterwards to download our newest tip sheet10 Productivity Hacks for Nonprofits.

Episode 3: Tech. Connection: Solutions, Strategy, and Staff || daniellejohnson-76

Episode 3: Tech. Connection: Solutions, Strategy, and Staff In episode 3 of the Raise + Engage podcast, Danielle Johnson is joined by Chris Geady and William DaSilva, two IT experts in the nonprofit space, to talk technology integration for NPOs: when you need it, when you don’t, and how to do it successfully.

Tune in to hear:

  • When to say NO to integration
  • How to set your strategic plan before even looking at technologies
  • Ways to get your entire team on board
  • The importance of identifying a project lead
  • The RFP process - how it should and should not go
And William shares a story about a nonprofit that may or may not have still been using a typewriter. You don't want to miss this one!

Episode 2: From Socially Awkward to Socially Awesome! || daniellejohnson-76

According to Danielle Johnson, straight-shooting host of the Raise + Engage podcast series, if your staff members aren’t the number one advocates for your cause on social media, you’re failing. In the most recent episode, Danielle is joined by Blackbaud’s own social media guru Madeline Turner to discuss overcoming social struggles and creating a social ambassador program at your organization. This entertaining and insightful duo dishes on the importance of making your social media presence human, making the case for a formal social program to leadership, how University of Michigan turned a one time social media campaign into a long term social program, and how Madeline's mom unknowingly became a social ambassador on #GivingTuesday.

Episode 1: Corporate Culture & Development: Shake It Up! || daniellejohnson-76

In the premiere episode of Raise & Engage, Danielle is joined by three straight-shooting nonprofit rock-stars: Jodi Smith of Sanford Health Systems, Veronica Brown of Chicago Public Library Foundation and Ali Burke of Southlake Regional Health Centre Foundation. The group talks organizational culture, problem employees, why its important to celebrate and how to shake things up this year and build a better more authentic team that gets stuff done!


Stay informed, catch latest trends in the nonprofit space.

Subscribe to Our Free Newsletter

No obligation, unsubscribe at anytime.

Success! Check your email inbox.

Follow Us On Twitter

NPT 2016 Buyers' Guide

Newsletter Sign-up

click here to return to the previous page