4 challenges for disaster response and fundraising

Just as a disaster requires a rapid response from people providing medical services, so does disaster require rapid response from nonprofits that provide disaster relief.

Speaking during the 2015 Bridge to Integrated Marketing Conference, Alison Oliveira Wheeler of SOS Children’s Villages – USA and Clint O’Brien of Engaging Networks, said nonprofit staff members responding to disaster need to focus on four areas to maximize their fundraising, keep a high profile and fulfill mission.

They recommended:

* Plan for the unexpected. Organizations should have a robust and adaptive plan that includes both communication (internal as well as external) and fundraising. Issue situation reports and prepare FAQs for staff, board and the media, as well as for corporate or foundations funders. Having a toolkit for all of them can be helpful.

* Accelerate. Remember that speed matters. Chaos and disaster are especially painful in the first 24 to 48 hours, but organizations need a voice. Align with the media and any people talking about the crisis and its stories.

* Deliver. This means communication as much as services. Use a variety of resources. Remember that an email can be directed to a Junk/Spam folder.

* Connect. This means connecting supporters to affected communities as much and as quickly as possible. It also means reporting back to supporters on the impact and unique work of the organization. Remember customized messaging.