Preparing for the Worst: Disaster Relief Programs

Disasters can strike in the blink of an eye, at a moment’s notice. From unpredictable natural disasters to man-made hazards, it is important to have a proactive plan in place for a quick response. Often companies respond post-tragedy but are unable to immediately direct employee donations and volunteers to support organizations that aid those in dire circumstances when it is most needed.

Operation TomodachiPhoto Credit: U.S. Navy

The keys to an effective response are flexibility and preparedness. Your company can set up a legacy of giving vital help to those in need with some proactive planning and forethought. In recent years, we saw an unprecedented increase of superstorms carving their impact into history through thousands of lost lives and billions of dollars in damage. How and when you respond is vital to rebuilding efforts and easing the pain of tragic circumstances.

Major retailers like Walmart and Home Depot have exemplary disaster response programs in place. In what some say was faster than the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina, Walmart delivered $20 million in cash, 100 truckloads of merchandise and enough food for 100,000 meals within a week of the crisis. The mega-retailer’s response was better fine tuned to tackle the humanitarian needs following subsequent disasters.

The Walmart Foundation’s Approach to Disaster Relief
From cash and in-kind donations supporting the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army to empowering employees, the Walmart Foundation is able to quickly and effectively “support disaster relief efforts in communities around the world.” The retailer is able to do so with a multitude of tools at its disposal, including an in-house meteorologist who keeps track of natural disasters, and leveraging its extensive database to expect consumer demand. Walmart stores also provide emergency merchandise tailored to the nature of disaster and the response, such as bottled water, flashlights, batteries, blankets, snacks, and office supplies for command posts.

The Home Depot Foundation’s Approach to Disaster Relief
The Home Depot Foundation strives to make sure its customers have the resources and support they need to rebuild in the wake of a disaster. Through partnerships with organizations like Team Rubicon, the Foundation is able to respond effectively and quickly. In addition to providing relief to particular instances, the Home Depot provides on-going support to the American Red Cross’ Annual Disaster Giving Program, helping the organization provide an immediate response following emergencies.

Most recently, the Foundation responded to the devastation brought upon a series of storms bringing deadly tornadoes and flooding to Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Florida. Through partnerships with nonprofit organizations, employee volunteers, and charitable donations, Home Depot was able to provide aid to over 20 affected communities and assist affected associates and their families.

What do Walmart and Home Depot’s programs have in common? Preparedness and flexibility resulting in speedy responses make both organizations’ disaster relief efforts extremely impactful on affected communities.

How FrontStream Can Help When You Need it Most
We know that when disaster hits, every minute and dollar donated is that much more valuable. With our Disaster Response solution, you can have a plan in place and ready to launch within hours to efficiently deliver humanitarian relief to victims. In less than four hours, your company can have a dedicated, fully branded donation page online in response to a disaster using the FrontStream platform.

Our flexible solution lets you set up a donation page in advance and make up to the minute adjustments to send alerts and updates on what your company is doing, and what volunteers and donors can do to help. You can select organizations from a list of vetted charities responding to the disaster or you can support your own nonprofit – the choice is yours. You can rest-assured that donations get to your supported charities securely and quickly with our Funds Processing and Distribution services. We empower companies to prepare for disasters and effectively launch disaster response programs that help them help others, better.

As the saying goes, prepare for the worst but let’s hope for the best.

FrontStream Holdings LLC is a registered ISO of Elavon, Inc. Georgia, Chase Paymentech Solutions, LLC, First National Bank of Omaha, Omaha, NE, BMO Harris Bank, N.A., Chicago, IL, Deutsche Bank, USA, New York, NY and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, CA.