Natural disasters are very hard to plan for and can happen to anyone without prior warning. When natural disasters strike, several charitable organizations and businesses suddenly spring up all with a single mission; to conduct fundraising events and gather some form of support from the public and other businesses.
Most people will feel concerned and united to support such courses and a near-universal reaction from the public and customers. In the past, sourcing funds following natural disaster involved receiving mailed checks and donations from fundraising events. Today, modern technology makes it easy to exploit various avenues and getting donations is no longer a daunting procedure.
Fundraisers can take advantage of social media, donation kiosks, and text-to-give opportunities to collect more and reduce the efforts involved. Unfortunately, modern technology has also exposed many frauds who seek to exploit naïve customers and public by publishing scam fundraising stories.
This has left many skeptical on the issue of giving donations following a natural disaster. For certain charitable organizations, raising funds after a real disaster continues to be a challenge even with existing platforms.
So how do you still use the very channels that have been used to exploit some customers in the past, and convince them that your course is genuine? Here are some few tips that can help you raise a significant amount of funds following a terrible natural disaster.
a) Plan Beforehand For Such Disasters
Although natural disasters cannot be adequately predicted and it is never known when you will be hit, you can still have strategies and action plans that immediately go into effect in the event of a natural disaster. These plans of action should include strategies and insights on how your organization will handle disasters, conduct fundraising events and disperse the funds.
These methods should be applicable in different situations and not only one kind of disaster. They should also be adaptable and flexible depending on nature and atmosphere that develops following the disaster. As a general rule of thumb, making early plans involves;
. Establishing Multiple Donation-And-Giving Platforms
Have various fundraising methods including online requests, text-to-give, donation kiosks and local events. What if the disaster knocks out your power supply and internet connection? What other platforms can you pursue to raise funds? Include traditional methods and plan for all eventualities.
. Optimize Resources For Specific Goals
Make sure you know how much support is needed to attain a specific goal including the costs and overheads involved, hosting and campaigns.
. Set Timelines
The plan must set forth realistic timeframes for fundraising and fund dispersing. If you take too much time collecting funds, the free-willed donors will start feeling deceived, and this may impact your future fundraising activities. Funds must be released in time to support the recovery activities for which it is requested.
There are several other considerations to include when planning for natural disaster. Things like Donation deadlines are very crucial when making plans to collect and disperse funds. Note how long it will take to receive donations from every platform and method included in the project to be used in case of a disaster. Cash usually has a short turnaround time when compared to mobile and cheque donations.
b) Encourage Decision Making For The Donors
Many scams have been noted, and authoritative bureaus like BBB keep calling on donors to review the legitimacy of organizations before sending their donations carefully. Large organizations supported by authoritative figures and the government also have BBB approval and are seen as legitimate.
Examples are the Boston One Fund established after the Boston bombing. This is not to say that smaller organizations cannot be seen as legitimate. In fact, it is the sole responsibility of smaller organizations to prove to donors that they are legitimate and support the course in motion.
By boldly displaying your 501(c) (3) and tax exemption status as well as registration during your campaigns and in the websites, you will ease the mind of donors and help them make the decision to help.
c) Never Oversight The Importance Of Transparency And Accountability
Accountability and transparency have a significant impact on your organization’s reputation. By demonstrating these two aspects, your donors will have better faith in the team knowing the donations were used to support victims of the natural disaster.
You can achieve this by clearly explaining the fundraising goals, issue post-fundraising reports and maintaining the seamless steady flow of information through websites and social media. Post-fundraising, in particular, is critical for the organization.
Continue conversation to avoid suspicion and keep your donors in the loop, sending them gratitude messages and proudly displaying the beneficiaries of the money donated. Even years later, remember to thank those who helped your organization support victims of natural disaster.
d) Time All Your Activities
Poor timing can disorganize all your plans and make it impossible for the organization to attract significant donation or even be perceived as legitimate. Mild relief messaging events may not be necessary, but you should quickly call for volunteers and donations as soon as the need arises.
Consider a group of displaced citizens who require necessities and injured parents with little babies who need adult care. Such requirements need volunteers and donations that should be requested early enough. By timing your calls and activities soon enough, your actions can be seen, and this will attract even more donations.
e) Other Considerations
When a natural disaster occurs, it is not the time to try out something new or communication channels. Using existing platforms will keep the normalcy and prevent the skepticism that may be caused by unfamiliarity. Be very cautious with social media and turn off all automatic updates to ensure you remain sensitive to the situation.
It would be inconsiderate to post electronic adverts and fun event promotion when the focus of the whole country is on supporting victims of natural disaster, especially if you are a charitable organization. Be very careful with hashtags and never post anything that celebrates the disaster or sheds it is a positive light.
When looking to fundraise following a natural disaster, there are various things that could potentially go wrong if you do not stick to the original plan. Of course some aspects of the plan will need to be adjusted to meet specific goals, but starting from no guideline can be a daunting challenge. It is important to accept your organization’s limitations and set realistic goals ad activities.