Giving Compass' Take:

• Consultant Kris Putnam-Walkerly posted this list of advice for donors looking to help people recover from natural disasters after Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston area, but it applies just as well now. To make an impact, think local and get prepped for the long haul.

• How often do we lose momentum after a hurricane or other type of catastrophe is out of the news cycle? Think about funding organizations that have strategic plans for building resiliency within vulnerable communities.

• On that note, here are some of the gaps and progress in recovery one year after Hurricane Harvey.

There is nothing like reports and photos of devastation after a natural disaster to spark one’s desire to lend aid and support ... But all too often, the outpourings of charitable gifts dry up long before the needs created by that disaster are all met. If you’re considering lending your support to those affected by a natural disaster, I encourage you to do so — and to consider the following four ways you can make a meaningful difference.

1. Respond to Immediate Needs. The financial assistance that you give right now will help people cope in this time of crisis, and I urge you to follow your instincts and make that donation. National organizations like the American Red Cross naturally come to mind, but a local community foundation is also a smart place to share your gifts.

2. Fund Recovery. Natural disasters strike in what seems like an instant, but the work of recovery and rebuilding goes on for months or even years. Unfortunately, this is the period when most givers have moved on. It’s also a time when sustained gifts can make a huge and lasting difference — rebuilding homes and schools, replacing weathered infrastructure, repairing environmental damage, and helping communities to emerge better than before. Even when national organizations have moved on, those local community foundations are still at work.

3. Invest in Mitigation or Reform. After Hurricane Katrina, we all learned about the weaknesses in the levy system in New Orleans. Post-disaster is a great time to revisit infrastructure issues policies and practices that will be needed to bear the brunt of a natural disaster and change them before the next hurricane or wildfire or earthquake strikes. An objective, outside funder can help bring community players together without pointing fingers or assigning blame to tackle these issues and make needed changes together.

4. Get Ready for the Next One. The very best way to weather a natural disaster is to be prepared for it before it strikes. For example, Nashville, Tennessee, now has a disaster plan to respond to floods, co-created by local funders like the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, the city and area nonprofits. Everyone knows what their role is and when to play it, which greatly reduces danger when flooding occurs and helps speed the recovery process. For a funder, supporting this kind of disaster planning process is a way to protect other investments in a community.

Read the full article about ways to respond to disaster by Kris Putnam-Walkerly at Putnam Consulting Group.