Disaster Grantmaking: A Practical Guide for Foundations and Corporations

Moved by widely publicized human suffering and increased disaster aid requests, foundations and corporations are becoming more active in the disaster relief field. Grantmakers have a distinct role to play in disasters because of their ongoing relations with grantees, long-term perspective, flexibility and convening capacity. Lacking the sizable emergency relief resources of governments and some well-known nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), foundations and corporate grantmakers nevertheless can make a significant contribution, for instance, by filling critical gaps in underfunded areas like disaster rehabilitation, prevention, research and education.

Based on lessons learned from a year-long, joint study of the European Foundation Centre and the Council on Foundations, we concluded that grantmakers can be more effective and strategic in addressing disasters by following eight principles of good disaster management:

  1. Do no harm.
  2. Stop, look and listen before taking action.
  3. Don’t act in isolation.
  4. Think beyond the immediate crisis to the long term.
  5. Bear in mind the expertise of local organizations.
  6. Find out how prospective grantees operate.
  7. Be accountable to those you are trying to help.
  8. Communicate your work widely and use it as an educational tool.

A number of practical suggestions for good disaster grantmaking flow from these principles and are highlighted in this guide.

2007, 40 pages

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