Natural disasters such as Hurricane Florence engender large amounts of philanthropic support, partially due to media coverage. Yet most of this aid is given quickly and addresses immediate needs, as opposed to longer-term recovery and reconstruction efforts. What’s the best way to help victims?
According to independent research by Dr. Greg Witkowski, Senior Lecturer in Discipline for the Master of Science in Nonprofit Management program at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies, and Dr. Michelle Annette Meyer, Associate Executive Director, Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center, Texas A&M University, needs are often as big or even greater long after a disaster than in its immediate aftermath.
Dr. Witkowski and Dr. Meyer, whose research spanned several states and disasters, including Hurricane Harvey and the 9/11 terrorist attacks, state that giving not just in the wake of disasters but on the anniversaries of prior ones can make a big difference. Donors can then vet the efforts of different charities by consulting their annual reports to see what they have accomplished so far.
“Donating long after disasters addresses major unmet needs. It also gives you the chance to get more reliable information about how your gift will be used,” Dr. Witkowski and Dr. Meyer conclude.