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02 Jan. 2018 | Comments (0)

The second half of 2017 was mired by a spate of natural and man-made disasters that focused the attention of corporate philanthropists on their disaster relief practices. In July, The Conference Board released “The Future of Disaster Philanthropy,” a Giving Thoughts article authored by GlobalGiving’s Marlena Hartz that detailed the need to focus disaster philanthropy on establishing local partnerships in an effort to improve preparation among the most vulnerable communities. GlobalGiving’s Britt Lake, Airbus Foundation’s Andrea Debbane, and The Conference Board’s Citizenship and Philanthropy Center Leader, Jeff Hoffman, recently joined me for a webcast to discuss the report and the most important elements of a disaster philanthropy strategy.

At the end of the webcast, which is available to view on demand, I asked my three guests for one piece of advice to give corporate philanthropists to help them develop their disaster philanthropy strategy.

  1. GlobalGiving’s chief program officer Britt Lake said that company’s must have partnerships in place ahead of time. “This establishes trust with corporate partners and their employees, as well as with organizations on the ground, which allows for quicker movement at the time of disasters,” she said.  
  2. Airbus Foundation’s executive director Andrea Debbane told the audience to tap into what your employees really want to do and where they want to contribute. She added: “The ability for an employee to give their time and expertise is very powerful. Companies must understand the cultures that they’re dealing with. In some cultures, it’s about fundraising. “In others, it’s about expertise and time. As an organization you need to understand the different cultures and adapt to the desires, needs and willingness of the employees’ potential.”
  3. The Conference Board’s Citizenship and Philanthropy Center leader Jeff Hoffman said companies must have a plan that looks at the four phases of disaster philanthropy: preparedness, relief, recovery and rebuilding. He said: “Sometimes the heaviest lift is in the rebuilding phase, which often gets overlooked. Make sure you think about the long term.”

Watch the full webcast on demand for free and let us know your thoughts.

  • About the Author: Alexander Parkinson

    Alexander Parkinson

    Alex Parkinson is a senior researcher and associate director of the Society for New Communications Research of The Conference Board (SNCR). He specializes in corporate philanthropy and communications …

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