Disaster Services

A Message About the Recent Tornadoes


Points of Light is coordinating with HandsOn Network affiliates in the affected areas and connecting with Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) chapters across the U.S. to access the situation and offer support. 

HandsOn Network is the local expert in volunteer engagement and often the lead in managing spontaneous unaffiliated volunteers throughout the response and recovery effort.

If you would like to support the recovery effort, here’s what you can do to help:


  • Don’t self-deploy at this time. The situation is still critical and travel is extremely difficult or impossible throughout much of the affected area.
  • Don’t bring supplies or donations to fire stations, police departments, etc. First responders need to focus on immediate needs and emergency situations.


  • Do donate to help Points of Light and HON network affiliates support the mobilization of volunteers in ongoing response and recovery efforts.
  • Do register your interest to volunteer on www.allforgood.org and check this page often for the latest updates on how you can help.
  • Do be prepared! As the devastation caused by these tornados reminds us, disasters can happen anytime, anywhere. Please take steps now to help your family and community recover more quickly from disasters. Visit www.goodandready.org to download an emergency preparedness checklist and create a disaster readiness plan for your family.

A Message About the Ebola Outbreak

ebola_strain_for_blog.jpgA micrograph of the Ebola virus (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Right now is the largest outbreak of Ebola in history. There is a lot of misinformation and fear about the disease. Learn more about the symptoms, transmission and prevention.

Medical workers and other volunteers need your help to combat the spread of this disease and save lives. Donate to nonprofits responding to the needs of Ebola victims. Ebola has called for a global strategic response.

As with any disaster please do not self-deploy or donate goods that are not specifically being requested by an agency working in the field. Stay safe and educate your friends and families with accurate information about Ebola. 

How Points of Light Responds to Disasters

Points of Light and its affiliates around the world work to activate, mobilize and engage people’s time, talent and resources to meet critical needs in disaster preparedness, response and recovery. We continue to take a lead role in long-term recovery efforts related to many recent disasters, including Hurricane Sandy and the Oklahoma tornadoes.

In 2012 HandsOn Network affiliates engaged 43,000 disaster volunteers who served 263,000 hours, producing an economic impact of $5.7 million. These volunteers were engaged through disaster partnerships, such as American Red Cross and Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD).

Fifty-nine percent of affiliates partner with American Red Cross and 41 percent of affiliates partner with VOAD to coordinate and mobilize volunteers.

To help individuals prepare for disasters, Points of Light provides training to its affiliates and nonprofit partners to manage spontaneous volunteers through disaster boot camps and webinars, and executes the Good & Ready program to educate and mobilize individuals and families to prepare their own homes and communities.

Disaster Volunteers

Corporate engagement is a key driver in this initiative with a focus on engaging employees and consumers. The focus on making sure “you and your community” are ready includes preparing volunteers to be ready to help in disaster response and in long-term recovery work. This helps build a ready corps of volunteers and volunteer leaders in a community and builds neighborhood connectivity that contributes to community resiliency and faster recovery after disaster.

When a disaster strikes and throughout the recovery phase, Points of Light helps direct corporate resources to impacted communities and provides technical and management support to affiliates and partner organizations in affected areas to recruit, train and deploy volunteers. It also provides technology support to manage volunteers and works with partners to implement effective volunteer engagement.