Corporate Disaster Relief and Response

Jun 14, 2023

As business and CSR leaders cautiously await the start of the Atlantic hurricane season (June 1 – Nov 30), Points of Light has created a list of tips to help shore up your corporate disaster relief and response plans.

Here are some basic principles of corporate disaster relief to consider:

  • Allstate Disaster Toolkit Cover
    Provide employees with ways to take action throughout the disaster lifecycle by sharing this guide. Click image to download.

    Ensure all employees in the affected areas are safe and accounted for, which might be a function of your HR department. If you don’t have a system in place (i.e., a hotline for employees to call or a phone tree for leaders to reach out, etc.), think about creating one to be prepared for the next natural disaster.

  • It’s instinctual to want to help others, so get in front of employees’ requests to be deployed. Know that spontaneous, unaffiliated volunteers can become burdensome, so devise plans to be ready with organized and strategic support, once the impacted areas have been deemed safe and ready for volunteers.
    • Find opportunities through one of our volunteer centers that are on the ground and often leading volunteer logistics.
    • Once impacted areas are ready for volunteer support, check in with your company’s risk management team to provide them with the chance to vet potential opportunities.
    • Think through the skills your employees have to offer the organizations responding to disasters. Skills-based volunteering from companies can play a significant role in response and recovery, not to mention building community resiliency. Check out Common Impact’s report, Disaster Response: From Relief to Resiliency, to find out how.
  • While employees might be driven to organize collection drives, palletized in-kind donations work best. Can your company work through an organization like Good 360 to provide much-needed supplies in bulk?
  • Launch a workplace giving campaign specific to the disaster and tailored to your top relief partners. Remind employees that cash contributions during a disaster go much farther than donated items.
  • Ensure impacted employees are aware of your company’s employee assistance/hardship fund and how to take advantage, while reminding the rest of your workforce how they can contribute.
  • Reach out to your nonprofit partners to find out how they have been impacted and how they are responding. Find resources to help you design a grant-making strategy through the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.
  • Keep up with your industry peers and their commitments by visiting the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Disaster Corporate Aid Tracker.

As you and your team respond to natural disasters, remember to stay safe and well. And tell us if Points of Light and our consulting services can help you as we brace for the next likely disaster and the rest of the year.

Katy Elder
Vice President of Corporate Insights, Points of Light

Spending 20 years in the corporate social responsibility sector, Katy mixes creativity and strategy with expertise in employee engagement and corporate citizenship to develop resources and learning opportunities that advance corporate social impact.