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Corporate Disaster Relief: Rebuilding and Strengthening Communities


A community looks for external help when disaster strikes. They need aid which could come in form of funds, shelter, water, and food. Providing this help needs cooperation between corporate citizenship professionals and both internal and external organizations. Natural disaster causes destruction to the communities both economically and psychologically. It takes a while before an affected community can get back on track. Helping with their recovery involves relief provision and volunteering by corporate professionals. They also provide operational activities such as logistics, security and supply chain management.
 
Regardless of the magnitude of a disaster, it always has negative impact on the social, environmental and economic aspects of human life. United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction projects that the economic damage caused by natural disasters in monetary terms was over a trillion dollars in 2015 alone, and this figure is expected to rise due to devastating climate change.
 
Corporate organizations have major roles to play during disasters and many are already doing that. Over 60 percent of companies have a functioning disaster relief giving program, per Boston College Center’s 2015 Community Involvement Study says. However, the major challenge has been the poor volunteerism and participation by employees. Only 8 percent of employees contribute their time and efforts during relief programs. This number shows the wide gap between corporate disaster relief-giving program and employee contribution. Therefore, more emphasis should be placed on the importance of employee participation.
 
Employees’ participation both benefits the community and the company. Employees are the closest link the company has to the community, therefore, they can easily advertise the company. According to research, corporate organizations that involve employees in corporate giving increases the dedication and commitment of the employees to the company.
 
Developing a strong relationship with important stakeholders such as nonprofits, government and peers is important to the success of any relief program. According to reports in Administrative Science Quarterly, companies that have been into philanthropy for a very long time and companies that have connections with other stakeholders usually give more reliefs following a natural disaster. The connections they have developed over the years give them credibility and access to different logistic materials and information. To ensure you have a successful crisis relief, your company needs to place emphasis on building strong relationship with local government, peers, and nonprofits.
 
According to Robert Glasser, the United Nations Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, preparation and infrastructural improvements are largely neglected and underfunded. Your company should extend its relief program to these two important aspects. Finally, identify factors that affect both the company and the community while planning for your relief program.