Best Practices in Disaster Philanthropy

Donors want to help when disaster strikes, but they often don’t realize how long disaster recovery can really take. Donors often contribute toward disaster relief when the news of the disaster is fresh, but months or even years later, the recovery is still in progress and a variety of needs still require funding.

In today’s episode, recorded live at bbcon, Bob Ottenhoff, president and CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, talks with Blackbaud’s Rachel Hutchisson about disaster philanthropy and what it means to have a strategic and holistic response that considers mid- and long-term needs. Listen to the episode to hear what Bob has to say about the funding “mosaic” involved in disaster relief, how donors can make sure their funds are having the greatest impact, and the role that community organizations play in disaster recovery efforts.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • How to define a disaster, and the increasing number of disasters occurring each year
  • The current state of disaster philanthropy
  • What it means to think of disasters in the mid-to-long-term sense
  • How philanthropy fits into the overall disaster response landscape
  • The role of community foundations in disaster relief
  • Advice for philanthropic organizations on how to develop strategic, holistic disaster response plans

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Notable Quotes from Bob Ottenhoff:

“There were 16 disasters in 2017 that caused a billion dollars or more in damage.”

“We find consistently that about 70% or more of all dollars are given within 30 days of a disaster…by 60 days or so, we’re pretty much at the end of the giving cycle for that disaster.”

“So, the philanthropic dollars become really important. They’re not the biggest in terms of dollars, but they have the ability to do things nobody else could do.”

“There’s a lot of funds that have gotten into serious trouble because there were misunderstandings about the purpose of the fund, how decisions were going to be made, when the money was going to be disbursed.”