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01 Sep. 2016 | Comments (0)

Companies are being called on regularly by employees, customers and other stakeholders to provide relief support for communities affected by recent tragedies. It’s not always clear what the best way to contribute to relief efforts is, so benchmarking among peers is important. In a July survey of members of The Conference Board Contributions Councils I and II, and the Global Social Investing Council, we asked whether companies would support the Orlando community following the June 12 shooting at Pulse nightclub, and what form that support would take. A summary of the findings from 24 respondents is discussed in this post.

As of July 19, just over 71 percent of companies were either responding to the Orlando shooting or at least considering it, while 30 percent said that they would not respond. The majority (69 percent) of those responding or considering responding said that their support would take the form of a corporate donation, with the most popular recipient being the OneOrlando Fund, a nonprofit organization founded by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer in the wake of the tragedy. Other recipients include the American Red Cross, the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida, Heart of Florida United Way, the Florida chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the Florida chapter of the Human Rights Campaign. 

With regard to involving employees, most companies who said they would respond or were considering a response were either still considering (31 percent) an employee match program for the tragedy or not conducting a specific program (37.5 percent); however, around 19 percent said that they would match donations for this specific cause as part of their standard employee matching program.

Forty percent of companies who are responding or intend to respond to the tragedy also said they will do so beyond corporate donations or employee matches. For example, companies said they would:

  • Arrange blood drives or encourage people to donate blood
  • Encourage employees, contractors and others to participate in local “Pride” parades
  • Ensure relevant communications and events have an Orlando message of sympathy
  • Coordinate volunteer events
  • Promote grief counseling and bereavement resources through partner organizations
  • Provide avenues for easy donations for customers.

Companies that said they were not planning to provide support in the wake of the tragedy cited as a reason that they only support emergency or disaster situations that occur in communities in which the company has a presence. Often, companies have a disaster policy in place that will trigger support in the event of such a tragedy, and geographic priorities are often a feature of these. 

  • About the Author:Alex Parkinson

    Alex Parkinson

    Alex Parkinson is Principal of Parky Communications, a communications agency specializing in sustainability and CSR reporting and communications. He serves as the Co-Leader of The Conference Board Cor…

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