Getting Involved in Disaster Response
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected companies large and small, upending livelihoods and changing how we do business. During times like these, companies can use their corporate responsibility activities to play an active role in disaster response as organizations seek assistance and aid to confront the challenges brought on by the pandemic.
Partnering with government entities or nonprofit organizations that participate in disaster response are direct methods for a company to get involved. Alternatively, local business organizations, such as local chambers of commerce, may have collaborations that support disaster response that businesses can join.
In general, there are several ways that your business can contribute to disaster response:
In-kind Donations: Companies that sells product or services that would be valuable during a disaster can consider donating them during relief efforts.
Financial Donations: Many disaster response organizations accept donated funds to assist in the acquisition of needed supplies or other essential items.
Employee Engagement and Volunteering: Companies can orient their employee engagement and volunteer efforts to help during a disaster. While not advisable during Covid-19, employees can aid clean-up or other on-the-ground relief activities.
Keep in mind that any partnerships and agreements to assist with disaster response should ideally be established before a disaster occurs. Once crisis hits, governmental and relief organizations may be overwhelmed coordinating response activities and have limited bandwidth to address such requests. That said, the current pandemic is rather unique given its extended duration, so don’t hesitate to contact potential partners to express your business’ interest in offering assistance.
Also, remember to take steps to protect your own business. Check out Ready.gov for a list of government tools to help your business prepare for and recover from an emergency. And for small- and medium-sized businesses, this disaster preparedness guide from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation provides a variety of resources to help businesses better navigate the challenges faced during a disaster.