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The team from Charity Navigator, the nation's largest independent charity evaluator and leading donor advocate, shares their thoughts on emerging nonprofit-sector issues and offers tips to better inform your intelligent giving decisions.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Resilient Response: A Necessary Shift in Disaster Giving


This guest post was written by our friend Shari Rudolph, Chief Marketing Officer at Good360.

With both the frequency and intensity of natural disasters on the rise around the globe, there’s an urgent need for a more thoughtful approach to the way we respond and help impacted communities recover. Launched in mid-September on the heels of Hurricane Florence and on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria, the Resilient Response initiative is a coalition initially formed by All Hands and Hearts - Smart Response and Good360 (both 4-star charities), along with Global Citizen, a nonprofit whose vision is to end extreme poverty by 2030.  

The Resilient Response Initiative is dedicated to the full lifecycle of recovery of communities affected by natural disasters and sheds light on the crucial and immediate need to adjust disaster-giving behaviors among corporations and individuals to better support response and long-term recovery.


According to studies by the National Science Foundation and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, 60% of unsolicited goods given after a disaster end up in landfills (or otherwise go to waste) and 70% of giving occurs within the first two months after a disaster. Only 5% of giving is allocated to long-term reconstruction and recovery. While addressing immediate needs is critical, the current approach to giving does not effectively support long-term recovery. It can take communities many years to recover from a large-scale disaster.  

Good360, All Hands and Hearts - Smart Response and Global Citizen are bringing together dedicated corporate partners who pledge to uphold a number of key principles to help ensure a more resilient response and to build stronger communities that can better withstand future disasters.  As of the writing of this post, more than 1000 individuals and more than 10 corporations, including UPS, United Airlines, Airbnb, and American Eagle Outfitters, have pledged their commitment to these principles. 

The pledge reflects these key pillars of thoughtful giving:

  • Proactive: We will have plans in place before disaster strikes so we can respond effectively.
  • Needs-based: We will find out what a community needs as the key driver of our support, collaborating and learning from others who are also responding.
  • Immediate & Long-term: We will address immediate and long-term needs, staying in communities well after the cameras leave.
  • Resilience-focused: We will leave communities stronger than before disaster struck, helping them to better withstand future disasters.
  • Transparent: We will be transparent about our actions and hold ourselves accountable to deliver on promises.
  • Educational: We will educate our associates, colleagues, consumers and the public on how they can better respond to disasters.

There’s a role for the nonprofit sector, too. Local, regional and national nonprofits who are on the ground in impacted areas have a line of sight on what is truly needed and can communicate that to donors and supporters, helping eliminate inefficiency and waste.  Foundations can commit financial support that spurs both immediate response efforts as well as long-term recovery needs.  Any nonprofit involved in any stage of disaster recovery can find ways to collaborate with other organizations in the nonprofit, public and private sectors in order to tackle long-term disaster recovery in the smartest ways possible.  We can all also help by providing a drumbeat of information and education to the world at large, helping both corporations and individuals understand how to give smarter and better, in ways that will truly accelerate the recovery of regions impacted by disasters. 

Charities can join the Resilient Response coalition by adopting the pledge at ResilientResponse.org.

Written by Shari Rudolph, Chief Marketing Officer at Good360.

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