Philanthropy can play a role to bridge the resource gap and those seeking to take action have many options for giving. In terms of immediate relief, unless you are answering a specific call for resources or talent you can provide, financial donations typically are the most useful.

While immediate action is imperative, philanthropists should also keep in mind a longer term view. Taken from the RPA guide “Giving Strategically after Disaster,” here are seven ideas to consider as you contemplate your post-disaster giving strategy:

  1.  Prepare by developing a crisis plan with guidelines around timing, decision making, focus, collaboration partners, process and more.
  2. Be quick but don’t hurry through solid research and an analytical approach to being responsive.
  3. Waste not by ensuring that you provide what is of most use – which is typically cash grants over goods unless there is a specific, credible request.
  4. Reach out to communicate with trusted local sources and informants, including local partners, charities and others who are actively working in the disaster zone to cut through misinformation and assess whether your ideas might be useful.
  5. Collaborate to avoid duplication, waste and poor prioritization.
  6. Consider the longer term to pick up where the largest, most immediate giving leaves off and to help communities with the long process of rebuilding.
  7. Keep your focus by, where possible, fitting your disaster-related grants into existing programmatic priorities.

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