In my role supporting GlobalGiving’s corporate partnerships, I field a lot of emails and calls from companies desperate to take action in the days after a disaster. After a storm swept through, their employees’ children no longer have a school to attend. Their factory is suddenly surrounded by homes with blue tarps for roofs. I help them make a generous gift to a responding nonprofit, and we stay in touch, knowing that another calamity could be on its way.

The climate crisis ensures no shortage of disasters demanding attention. And it often feels like the best we can do is pass out supplies, reopen the schools, repair the roofs, and hope. But this broken system is doing little to limit the wave of future possible impacts. That’s why the United Nations recognizes Oct. 13 as International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction to promote attention to life-saving measures we can take before a crisis strikes.

Disasters can’t always be prevented. But some of the worst effects can be avoided, and funding risk reduction and preparedness efforts can have an outsized impact:

  • Preparedness increases efficiency and decreases costs, giving you a higher philanthropic return on investment.
  • When dollars are donated to disaster proactively, they are more likely to strengthen local groups, which enables community leaders to take the lead.
  • Having responders already within the community can minimize the carbon footprint of future humanitarian operations.
  • Planning speeds up aid delivery, so you can rest easy knowing your dollars are deployed quickly and you’ve optimized to save lives.

So what does it look like for companies to move the needle?

  1. Save lives with early warning.
  2. Shore up coastal areas.
  3.  Support resilient communities.
  4. Think big—and collaborate with your competitors.

Read the full article about disaster risk reduction by Kayla O'Neill Carriker at GlobalGiving.