Hurricane Sandy has once again brought disasters—and the desire to help—to the forefront.
Media attention has been critical to the nation’s preparedness efforts and in bringing immediate relief to affected communities. But lives will be impacted long after the storm has passed and media attention has faded. This is where private philanthropy can do its best work. It is critically important to long-term recovery because of its flexibility, ability to be forward thinking in every funding area, and capacity to complement public dollars.
Add disaster funding to an existing mission. Donors can most effectively leverage their resources by tapping into in-house expertise.
Support medium to long-term recovery efforts. Most donors will see the stirring images and react immediately, donating dollars that are allocated for emergency humanitarian relief. Relief activities are obviously critical, but they do not address the need for longer-term recovery, which will require even more dollars and receive far less attention.
Support organizations with a long-standing history of service in hurricane-affected areas. Supporting these organizations maximizes existing expertise and response capacity and minimizes the learning curve associated with working in a disaster environment.
Look for underfunded sectors. Areas such as maternal and child health and provision of psychosocial support, for example, are critical to the success of any recovery strategy, but usually don’t receive the attention necessary for long-term success.
Make connections. Reach out to your colleagues and responding organizations on the ground. If at all possible and appropriate, visit the affected areas, talk to people, and offer to support the work of like-minded organizations.
To learn more, please visit the CDP’s Hurricane Sandy hub . In addition, strategic advice/assistance for philanthropists is available by calling the CDP hotline: 206-972-0187.
Regine A. Webster is the vice president of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.