“As climate change continues to warm the planet, extreme weather events are only going to increase. Since disasters can greatly impact profitability for companies – directly and indirectly – businesses have a moral as well as a bottom line stake in mitigating the disruptions of disasters and helping communities and economies bounce back quickly. Further, the PR benefits of disaster preparedness and effective response can be immense, as Walmart found in the wake of its rapid and admired efforts when Hurricane Katrina struck.
A new report from The Conference Board and GlobalGiving, ”The Future of Disaster Philanthropy,” finds that companies must be nimble and creative in order to overcome the three biggest challenges to disaster philanthropy:
- Heightened risk of fraud.
- Complex regulatory issues.
- Rising distrust of traditional institutions.
Smart disaster philanthropy is an increasing necessity as we face a more dangerous world driven by climate change. Companies should remember three key points as they formulate a disaster strategy that doesn’t kick in after disasters, but before disaster strikes:
- Invest in risk reduction.
- Foster locally driven solutions.
- Include more stakeholders, including employees, in disaster decision-making.
It’s overwhelming and heartbreaking to see scenes of devastation unfolding in so many communities right now. The best way to step up is by taking a broader vision of disaster relief as something more than a short-term reaction, but rather a larger strategy of disaster philanthropy that should be a pillar of your overall CSR program.”