Typhoon ravished beach in Philippines

The powerful and deadly super Typhoon Haiyan that recently hit the Philippines has brought about a worldwide relief effort. There are many organization providing food, shelter and medical attention to those in need. Even if your nonprofit’s purpose is not specifically related to natural disaster relief there are still ways you can help the victims.

Be a Resource

If you have members, subscribers, an email list, a blog or a newsletter, you can help inform your supporters about relief efforts that relate to your organizations mission. Whether you are a watershed council, an animal shelter or a hospice there is sure to be some way to help that relates to your mission.

Why You?

  • You have members that support you and are proven “givers”.
  • As an organized nonprofit you have already established the trust of your supporters as well as your community.
  • You have access to resources: your professional network, a website, office equipment, a meeting room or gathering place, etc.

Spread Awareness

Two women walking in street after Typhoon Haiyan.

Two women in the walk debri filled streets, Philippines. Photo: Mans Unide

Don’t assume your supporters already know what resources are needed and who to donate them to. With a disaster of this size the amount of information (and misinformation) on TV and the internet is overwhelming.

Start gathering as much information that you can about relief efforts that are similar to your mission. Then compose a short article that shares the stories, links and donation opportunities you have discovered with your supporters.

An easier way to do this would be to just make a list of relief organizations that need donations. Be sure to include links to their websites and then send this list to your supporters or post it on your website.

Create a Webpage on your Website

If you have a website that attracts regular visitors you can provide a resource page on how to help the victims of the Typhoon Haiyan. This can be more effective than just sending out an email.

A webpage can provide up to date details on relief efforts and is accessible 24-7. The page can include stories about relief efforts, photo’s, links to video’s and news reports, as well as information on how to support organizations that are on the front lines of the relief effort.

An effective strategy would be to combine a webpage with periodic emails that you send to your supporters updating them on relief efforts with links “for more information” to your webpage.

Gather Donations

Unfortunately, during times of crisis, there can be many fraudulent organizations collecting money to “help” the victims of natural disasters. This has the effect of scaring likely donors from giving to organizations that don’t have established international reputations.

You can help alleviate the anxiety of these donors by taking donations on behalf of an organization that you have already vetted for authenticity. Since your supporters trust you they may be more willing to donate to an outside organization through you.

Just be transparent on how much of each donation goes to the outside organization, who that organization is and what they will do with that money.

Not sure if you can raise money on another organizations behalf? Read: Can One Non-Profit Donate Money To Another?

Volunteers deliver supplies to Typhoon Taiyan Victims

Volunteers load shelter kits to be distributed in Philippines. Photo: UK Department for International Development

Another way to collect donations for another agency is to include a check box on your own organizations membership page (or donation page) that reads something like, “I would like to add $___ to my membership/donation, to help support the victims of the Typhoon Haiyan.”

This approach may be more suitable if you are concerned that asking your supporters to donate to another cause may take away from their potential donation to you. (It’s OK to have this concern, we all have to raise money to do what we do).

There are many ways to help besides money. You can gather shoes, medicines, vaccines, dog food, etc. Use your professional network to find out what needs you can help fulfill and what organization to work with to ensure your donations get to the right people.

It’s times like this when people realize just how much we depend on nonprofits and NGO’s to help care for our neighbors in need (as well as the planet). It is sobering to think about what would happen if organizations such as these didn’t exist. And it is humbling to think the world just wouldn’t be the same without them.

Prayers to the Philippines and all those who are there to help.

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