From a global pandemic to the recent invasion of Ukraine, globally impactful disasters are an increasingly frequent part of our reality, and thus an important factor as funders consider grantmaking priorities and the funding landscape in which they operate. In light of these events and global trends that will make disasters of this scale and complexity imminent, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) reflects in this series on why grantmakers must consider disaster funding, how to approach this work with an equity and community-based mindset, and what individual donors can do to help.

The world is awash with disasters — flooding in Kentucky, the war in Ukraine, the rapid spread of monkeypox, a pending famine crisis in the Horn of Africa and many, many more. As well-informed individuals, we eat up these news feeds along with our eggs and cereal each morning.

For many of us, it can be overwhelming. How does one respond? Does it even matter if we do or not? It can feel futile, given that whatever we donate individually and collectively cannot come close to the vast amounts of resources needed to help communities recover from these disasters.

But the truth is, it does matter, and there are several things you can do to mobilize your giving before, during, and after disasters.

Harnessing passion, compassion, and knowledge in disaster giving

While the magnitude of the disaster, the connection to place, and media attention may disproportionately sway the individual donor into supporting big disaster, donors should pay attention to these additional ways to have transformative impact:

  1. Give in response to local and low-attention disasters.
  2. Give before and after a disaster
  3. Give to community-based organizations that serve marginalized communities

Read the full article about individual giving in disaster funding by Regine Webster at The Center for Disaster Philanthropy.