Natural Disaster Fundraising

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Fundraising for A natural disaster is very important. The reason for this is simple, a natural disaster can strike at any time or place, and it will often leave behind an area that has been devastated by the loss of homes and lives. If one of these catastrophes happens in your area, you might be left without assistance if you do not have the proper insurance. Whether or not the natural disaster actually impacts you, however, it is still important to remember that these cataclysmic events typically leave hundreds and perhaps even thousands of people in a horrible financial situation. Therefore, it is a good idea to host an online fundraising campaign with the intention of providing assistance to families and individuals in need. Below we outline some very important strategic ideas about natural disasters and how to fundraise for them with the best results!

fundraising-natural-disasters

After the hurricane, tornado, earthquake or other form of disaster leaves the area, the local police will begin assessing the damage. Unfortunately, they are often ill-equipped to help people get necessary supplies, and this can cause a backlog of issues while the federal government determines what level of assistance is appropriate from their level. If you are a local resident, you can begin making an immediate impact as soon as your fundraiser is in place. After all, even simple supplies like bottled water and non-perishable food will be extremely important in the first few days after the disaster.

When the Nakhon Sawan flood happened in 2011, it damaged the entire town. Homeowners and business owners spent approximately four weeks in an evacuee camp, and when they were finally allowed to return to the town, they found that mold and sewage was rampant throughout all of the buildings. In order to help the local small business owners begin making the necessary repairs, a trio of residents started an online fundraising campaign. They were able to successfully exceed the amount of donations that they were seeking, and each dollar went to the cause.

Natural Disaster Case Studies

There have been several natural disasters in recent U.S. history. For example, Hurricane Sandy ripped through the East Coast in October 2012, and it left parts of New York and New Jersey buried under an almost unimaginable amount of water. New York City was one of the hardest hit areas, and it took several days for the water to recede. During this time, residents struggled with power outages and the water damage was so severe in some places that it will cost millions for the city to completely recover.

The U.S. Drought is a natural disaster that is still in the process of occurring. Farmers are dealing with crop damage due to a smaller than normal amount of snow fall last winter, and this had an impact on both their livelihood and grocery prices around the country. Although the drought is not over yet, it is expected to cause more than $75 billion in economic damages. The trickledown effect from this disaster will have a very negative impact on an economy that is already struggling. The farmers who were hit the hardest by the drought may find themselves losing their farm if they are not able to receive enough financial assistance.

You have the ability to help others, regardless of whether you have been personally impacted by a natural disaster or not. The rest of this article will focus on the steps that you need to take to ensure that your campaign will be a success. Even if this will be your first attempt at learning how to fundraise, you will soon have enough proven fundraising ideas to move forward with confidence.

Technology and Communication

You will need to take several items into consideration if you are considering running an online fundraiser in the aftermath of a natural disaster. First off, you must make sure that you have safe access to everything that you need. This means that you should be able to say yes to each of the items on the following checklist.

1.) Do you have electricity?

2.) Are you safe?

3.) Do you have Internet access?

4.) Do you have a working computer?

5.) Do you have a working telephone?

Not only do you need to have access to the basics, but everyone else involved will need to have it as well. After all, if no one has access to shelter and power, there is no way that they can help you in your effort to raise money online. Communication is going to be the pivotal key. Consider for example how frustrating it is to send out a mass email or text message without receiving a single response. If you try to set up a fundraiser when no one else has the ability to donate online, you are not going to be able to meet your goal.

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Another important thing to consider is that your fundraising efforts should be channeled toward helping people get back on their feet. Immediate aid for things like shelter and food will be provided by the Red Cross and other similar organizations, and unless the disaster continues to hit the area for an extended period of time, the initial basic needs of each resident should be met. It would also be very difficult for you to raise money online and convert it into basic emergency supplies that reach the necessary people. Therefore, once everyone is safe and has the ability to communicate, you can begin moving forward with your fundraiser.

Keep in mind that even the people who have been the hardest hit by the disaster may still want to pitch in whatever they can to help out their neighbors. By launching the fundraiser after basic methods of communication have been restored, you can help everyone feel useful by encouraging them to donate online.

In some cases, telephone communication might be your only option at first. Because it would be too difficult to host a fundraiser over the phone, you should ask a relative or friend who is outside of the area to host a fundraiser for you. After all, as long as you are safe enough to communicate with them, there is no reason to delay the process of obtaining donations for people in need.

A Fundraising Strategy for Natural Disasters

Set Expectations for Donors

It is vital to remind all potential donors that natural disasters often take years to overcome. For example, the damage that Hurricane Katrina caused in New Orleans is still being felt to this day. Therefore, your donors need to understand that there is an overwhelming need for them to offer financial support. It is also important to point out that the fundraising process will most likely need to continue for an extended period of time in order to provide all of the necessary assistance. In many cases, the true extent of the damage that will not be covered by an insurance provider is not even known until several months or even years have passed.

fundraising-online

With most fundraisers, you can set a moderate goal and complete the entire process within a few months. Again, this is not likely to be possible with your natural disaster fundraiser. By letting people know up front that you are committed to extending the fundraiser as needed in order to bring financial assistance to the impacted residents of the area, you can avoid lengthy questions later on. You can also encourage people to make regular donations if they are unable to make a large donation at one time. Consider for instance how much of a positive impact your fundraiser could have on the community if a large group of supporters pledged to give $50 a month for the next 12 months. Although most of them probably do not have the financial means to make a $600 donation at once, it will be okay to receive that money in 12 installments since there will be a constant need from residents of the affected area for an extended period of time.

Natural Disaster Case Study

Japan was hit hard by earthquake Sendai in 2011. The earthquake was the largest one that the nation had ever experienced, and there are still several areas that have never been rebuilt. However, Japanese officials have been placing an emphasis on not only cleaning up the ravaged areas, but on also recycling as much of the debris as possible. This is a positive example of what a community can do after a natural disaster wreaks havoc, but it is not possible to move forward with this type of plan without the necessary funding.

Sendai-fundraising

 Scale the Fundraiser for Success 

Although you will most likely feel the desire to help everyone, this is quite simply not possible, regardless of how good your fundraising ideas are. After all, if you attempt to launch an online fundraiser that is asking for a general $10 million, you will leave potential donors feeling discouraged not knowing exactly where the money goes. Consider for example how difficult it would be if your friend needed to raise money online for a good cause and they said that each person needed to donate $500 in order for their fundraiser to be successful. If you do not have $500 to give them, you would feel discouraged from providing any assistance at all. Your potential donors will feel the same way, so you need to set your scope smaller and make it clear that every single donation counts, regardless of its size. Here you will make the fundraiser tangible and donors can feel a connection when they donate.

A good way to get the ball rolling is to pick a specific project. For example, if the local school suffered from extreme roof damage, you can set your fundraising goal at $10,000. Make sure that your fundraising page explains exactly what you hope to accomplish with the money so that people can feel confident about making a donation. Here you can also add this will be your 1st fundraiser of many to help the town.

If the area was hit by a flood, you could consider setting your goal as $10,000 to provide fresh drinking water for the local school children. Again, this is a goal that is actually attainable, and it will be easy for your donors to verify that their money was used in the anticipated way. The nightmare of accounting for a large sum of money is another reason that it is not a good idea to attempt a multimillion dollar fundraiser. After all, it will be practically impossible to conclusively state in advance what the funds will be used for, and effectively tracking the money will also be difficult. The great part about this style of fundraising is when you hit your goal you are able to show the results of the funds! This will bring additional leverage for your next fundraiser! Keep reading to see how this works.

Leverage Contacts from Previous Fundraisers

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they first learn how to fundraise is not keeping a good grasp on their list of donors. Therefore, whether this is your first or your fiftieth fundraiser, you will need to make sure that you continuously compile a list of the people who have been generous enough to help your cause. After all, your donor list can become the lifeblood of any additional fundraisers that you choose to host in the future.

The Process of Retention

A basic rule of thumb that applies to the world of fundraising is that people who have donated in the past are likely to donate again at a later date, especially for similar causes. For example, if you host a fundraiser to help a local animal rescue, it is highly likely that the majority of your donors would be interested in donating again if you host a second fundraiser to assist the animals that were displaced by a natural disaster. Although this absolutely does not mean that you should avoid reaching out to new donors, it does mean that it would be foolish to ignore a group of people who have already proven themselves to be charitable.

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The Process of Going Viral

You can also rely on people who have donated in the past to help you spread the word about your fundraiser via their social networks. Consider for example how often you see posts on Facebook and Google Plus from people who support a specific cause. Your donors are likely to do the same thing, especially if you encourage them to do so. In fact, the DonationTo.com platform will provide you with the necessary social networking integration tools to make it easy to start the process of going viral. Remember that the more people you are able to reach with your message, the better chance you have of hosting a fully funded campaign.

The Process of Increasing Donations

Although most people probably think that they can rely on the people who they know to make the biggest donations, this is not always the case. Instead, it is the process of building trust that will help you receive the largest donations. Consider for instance how many acquaintances you have who you probably would not trust with your money. On the other hand, there are some groups that you would trust implicitly with your donation. This same thought process might keep some people from making a donation to your cause, but you cannot let that stand in your way. Instead, you need to do everything within your power to build trust throughout the fundraising process. By doing simple things such as providing verifiable updates throughout the process, you can gain the trust of a lot of people, including many who you have never met. These donors will be a vital part of the process, and if you can make them feel confident by your actions, you will also be creating an environment that will make them feel more comfortable about donating again and spreading the word about your fundraiser to their family and friends.

How to Get Started on Your First Natural Disaster Fundraiser

Select an Online Service for Your Fundraiser 

There are multiple online fundraising services available, but you need to be careful about which one you select. After all, the tools that they provide to you can make or break or your entire effort. DonationTo.com is a wise choice for many reasons. Even if you have never done a fundraiser before, the platform that is provided by DonationTo.com is very easy to understand and utilize, and it requires no technical skills. You will also be given several tips to make sure that you present your fundraising information in the best possible light. Most importantly, however, is the fact that DonationTo.com will enable you to keep 100 percent of the donations that you receive, and avoid credit card fees too!

The majority of websites that are dedicated to helping people raise money have a fee structure in place that can make it very difficult for the organizer to actually meet their goals. Consider for instance how hard it can be to raise $10,000 in the first place, and then add in the fact that some fundraising sites will take $500 or more away from that total to cover various fees. Even though $500 might seem like a small number in comparison to the $9,500 that would go toward your cause, it could make the difference between providing a new roof for the local school or falling short. Therefore, unless you want to be personally responsible for covering the difference, you should always avoid platforms that come with large fees attached to the fundraising process. Also, even if you can afford to cover a $500 difference, it would make more sense to put your money to work for the actual cause instead of wasting it on fees.

Create a Meaningful Bio for Your Cause 

It is important to fully explain what happened and what you are hoping to do with the money that is donated. In order to ensure that the bio section of the fundraising page is fully filled out, you should use the following checklist.

fundraising-bio

a.) Explain Exactly What Happened 

Whether it was a flood, fire or hurricane, you should give at least a basic overview of the disaster and how it damaged the area that you are attempting to help. For example, if you are attempting to raise $10,000 to replace the school roof, you will want to make sure that you explain how the disaster specifically impacted that building.

b.) What is Your Specific Target Goal for the Fundraiser 

Explain how much money you are trying to raise and whether or not you are planning to run multiple phases of the fundraiser to hit a larger ultimate goal.

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c.) Explain Exactly how the Money will be Used 

If you are going to use the money to replace the roof of a school, you need to provide this information. It is also a good idea to give verifiable information such as the fact that you have received three bids for the roofing job and $10,000 was the best price that you could get.

d.) Explain the Timing of the Goal 

Potential donors need to have a firm understanding of how soon you expect to meet your goal. Therefore, whether you will be accepting donations for one month, six months or one year, you should provide this information. If there is something time sensitive that needs to be accomplished such as replacing a roof before summer vacation is over, you will need to encourage people to make donations quickly.

e.) Remind Supporters how they can Contact You

If a supporter has a question, they should be able to touch base with you. By providing your email address or another reliable contact method, you can ensure that more people will feel inclined to make a donation.

f.) Remind Supporters to Share the Link to Your Fundraiser

Social networking presents a great opportunity for finding additional supporters. Therefore, you should encourage your supporters to share the link to your fundraising page on their Facebook wall and any other applicable social networking sites. Make sure they understand that sharing the link is one of the best ways to ensure that the cause will be fully funded.

g.) Thank Everyone for their Time

Common courtesy still goes a long way, and if people feel like their support is genuinely appreciated, they will be much more likely to make a donation and spread the word about the cause.

Natural Disaster Case Studies

As previously mentioned, Hurricane Sandy caused damaged to several areas on the East Coast, particularly to New York, New Jersey and the New England states. Without the fundraisers that were held by both small and large groups, it would have been impossible for many of the residents and business owners to begin digging themselves out of the financial hole that the hurricane caused. Sadly, not everyone had the appropriate type of insurance, and even those who did may not receive their money for an extended period of time. Fundraisers that were hosted in the interim could make the difference between a small business owner rebuilding or going out of business.

A lightning strike in May 2012 sparked the Michigan Duck Lake wildfire. Before the fire could be contained, almost 100 buildings were destroyed. Many of these buildings belonged to homeowners and business owners, and the devastation they experienced was difficult to overcome. A local girl scout troop held a fundraiser to provide snacks for the firefighters who tirelessly battled the blaze for several days. This is a good example of one of the many ways that a fundraiser can assist others during a natural disaster. Other fundraisers could also help to offset some of the economic damages that local residents sustained as a result of the fire.

Upload a Relevant Image 

Nothing is more powerful on the Internet than imagery, and it is therefore crucial to upload at least one image to your fundraising page that is relevant to your cause. For example, if you are raising money to help an area that was ravaged by a flood, you should use an image that shows what the flood looked like. You can also incorporate additional photos that show some of the damage that the flood caused.

If you have a specific cause such as replacing a school roof, it is best to show a picture of the damaged roof. By letting people actually see the destruction that was caused, they will feel more connected with the entire process, and this will encourage them to make a donation. Keep in mind that most people only skim text on the Internet, but they will take the time to look at pictures. Therefore, you definitely need to select at least one image that will be powerful enough to make each viewer stop and consider what it would be like to go through a similar situation. If you can invoke the viewer’s sense of empathy, you have a much better chance of convincing them to donate online.

Although it is important to post an image that is clear and easy to see, it is not necessary to use professional photographic equipment. After all, most modern smart phones come equipped with a decent camera, and as long as the lighting is good, you should be able to get a usable image.

Another way to invoke empathy and make people feel connected to the fundraising process is to provide an image that shows whoever has been impacted by the natural disaster. For example, if you are hosting a fundraiser to help animals that were displaced by a hurricane, you should include a photograph of some of the animals. When potential donors see this image, the need to make a donation will become real instead of simply an abstract idea.

As you can see, selecting the right image or set of images can make the difference between hosting a successful or unsuccessful fundraiser. Therefore, you need to take the time to either take or obtain some images that will properly represent your cause before you post your fundraising page. Keep in mind that if you post the fundraiser with the intention of adding images later, you might lose the attention of the first group of people who visit the page.

Natural Disaster Case Studies

When Hurricane Issac hit the Gulf Coast in August 2012, it caused billions of dollars in damages. Homeowners and business owners were severely impacted, and the cost of orange juice shot way up due to the fact that Florida’s orange crop was damaged. Many of the people who were impacted by this hurricane are still in need of financial assistance.

Typhoon Bopha caused more than 1 billion in damages and claimed the lives of at least 1,146 people when it smashed into Mindanao. The typhoon is the strongest tropical storm to ever hit that region, and residents were ill prepared to deal with its impact. Without financial assistance, some of the people from Mindanao may never fully recover.

Enable Multiple Payment Options

If you want to have the best chance of receiving a large quantity of donations, you need to be able to accept money from multiple payment sources. Fortunately, DonationTo.com is equipped to accept payments via PayPal and WePay. By providing these two options, you are much more likely to hit your goal.

PayPal is an essential part of the fundraising process because their name is so well-known. In fact, the online payment company currently has more than 100 million users, and that means that the majority of your potential donors will already have a PayPal account.

Because there are some people who choose not to use PayPal, however, DonationTo.com believes it is important to provide an alternative payment option. This is why the website has also partnered up with WePay. Unlike the PayPal format, donors who choose to use WePay will not be bounced to a second webpage in order to complete their payment. For some people, this is an important consideration. Therefore, no matter how popular PayPal is, you should always provide a second option if you want to maximize your donations.

Natural Disaster Case Studies

The High Park Wildfire in Colorado was caused by a lightning strike on June 9, 2012. The fire took 21 days to completely contain, and it destroyed more than 250 homes. The local residents were evacuated throughout the entire process, and this made it difficult for them to do necessary daily tasks such as report to work.

The damage that was caused by Hurricane Issac is still being evaluated, but there are definitely thousands of people who continue to need financial assistance. Whenever a hurricane hits an area that is prone to these natural disasters, it can be extremely difficult to get insurance providers to cover the damage.

fundraising-Hurricane_Isaac

Staying in Contact

The success of your fundraiser will completely hinge on your ability to communicate effectively and stay in touch with your supporters. Your communication needs to remain fluid and consistent throughout the entire process. The following list contains some tips for properly communicating across a wide variety of different platforms.

a.) Facebook 

You should use Facebook to post regular status updates, and it is also a good idea to create a page and an event that are specifically dedicated to your fundraiser. By getting people to like the page and join the event, you will be able to keep them updated about the fundraiser, and it will also be easier for them to share posts with their friends.

b.) Google Plus 

The same general methods that you use for Facebook should be put into place via your Google Plus page.

c.) Twitter 

Create a Twitter account that is solely dedicated to your fundraiser, and send out regular tweets that keep people involved throughout the process.

d.) LinkedIn 

You can use your LinkedIn page to network with business professionals who can recommend your fundraiser to their supervisors. If you can obtain a large corporate donation, you will have an extremely good chance of hitting your goal.

e.) Text Message 

Most people, especially if they are under the age of 30, spend a lot of time sending and reading text messages. Therefore, it is an excellent idea to send out text messages updates about the progress of your fundraiser.

f.) Phone Calls 

It can be easy to ignore a message that is received in writing, but if someone actually calls you, the odds are much higher that you will pay attention. Because of this, you should definitely reach out to your supporters by calling them.

g.) Email

Emails are a great method for keeping everyone in the loop about the fundraiser, and they can also be easily forwarded to being new people into the cause.

h.) Chat Messages

Engaging people via chat messaging can have similar results to making a phone call, and you should use it to capture the attention of supporters who love technology.

The biggest mistake that you could make is to only utilize one or two of the methods listed above. Instead, you need to use all of them to make sure that your fundraiser becomes a success.

Contacting Your Supporters with a Time Frame Template

You will need to send out an initial email that explains your cause and asks the reader to provide their support. After that message has gone out, it is imperative to follow up with a new message at least once a week. Each of the following weekly tips can be modified so that you can send them out via email, text and chat.

Week One 

Send out the introduction, and make sure that you provide the pertinent information without being too long-winded. This is the perfect opportunity to use the text that you wrote for the fundraising page’s bio.

Week Two 

Providing a status update on the amount of donations that have been received is important, and you should do this in the second week even if you do not have a lot to report yet.

Week Three 

Provide a progress report abput what has happened since the natural disaster and how your fundraising team has been able to begin helping with the donations that have been received.

Week Four 

During this week, focus on asking people to share the fundraiser’s URL on their social networking pages. This will give everyone a break from being asked to make a donation, and it will also get the cause in front of a much larger group of people.

Week Five 

Your DonationTo.com fundraising page has a Facebook like button on it. Asking everyone to go to the page and click like will help generate additional supporters.

Week Six 

The sixth week is the perfect time to provide another update on the status of the donations that have been received. Make sure that you mention the percentage of your goal that has been obtained.

Week Seven

Ask everyone to donate their Facebook status on a specific day to bring attention to your fundraiser.

Week Eight

Take new photos that show the current state of the area. By sharing these, people will feel more involved in the process.

Week Nine 

Ask all of your supporters to send an email to their friends that tells them about your cause.

Week 10

Add the URL of your page to several relevant images and upload them to Facebook.

Week 11 

Ask your supporters to send out a tweet that includes the URL of the donation page.

Week 12 

Provide another status update during this week to help keep everyone focused on the goal.

Most fundraisers of this nature will last much longer than 12 weeks. In this case, when you get to week 12, start back from week 1 and repeat and continue to do this.

Natural Disaster Case Studies

Sahel dealt with a major drought in 2010, and the crop damage that was sustained caused widespread famine throughout the area. Without reliable access to food, the citizens of Sahel were facing starvation on a daily basis. A fundraiser to assist them would have focused on providing access to healthy food and water.

The earthquake that shook Samar in 2012 caused power outages, damage to homes and businesses and at least once death. A quick influx of emergency funding provided via a fundraiser would have gone a long way toward helping the area recover from the earthquake.

eastern-samar-earthquake-online-donations

Ask for Local Help

Hosting a successful fundraiser requires a lot of support, and it is a good idea to reach out to your local area for assistance. By immediately telling your friends, family members and co-workers about your plans, you can develop a team of dedicated individuals who are committed to helping your fundraiser meet its ultimate goal. Keep in mind that many of these people will know others who were negatively impacted by the disaster, and they will want the opportunity to help.

local-help-fundraising

Obtaining a business donor is one of the quickest ways to reach your goal. In addition to making a sizable donation of their own, the company’s involvement may also encourage their employees to do the same thing. Anytime a natural disaster strikes, there are going to be some businesses that are not affected by the damage. Businesses that survived without a scratch are the perfect resource because they are likely to feel the desire to help out other business owners who were not so lucky.

Another good opportunity to raise money can be found by contacting the local media. Once they learn about your fundraising efforts, they are likely to give you some free press. Even if you do not have any contacts with your local news channels, you should still take the time to send them an email that explains your fundraiser and includes the URL. The odds are high that they will decide to support your efforts by mentioning the fundraiser on one of their next broadcasts.

Keep in mind that failing to reach out to any of these potential sources of support will make it harder to raise money. Since your ultimate goal is to help others, it is definitely okay to ask people to help you throughout this process.

Summary

When a natural disaster strikes, most people are unprepared financially to deal with the consequences. Therefore, it can be imperative to host a fundraiser to help individuals, schools or business owners get back on their feet. In order to host a successful fundraiser, however, you will need to set a realistic goal. In other words, instead of attempting to raise $1 million to help the entire area, you should choose one specific cause to support with a $10,000 fundraiser.

By selecting DonationTo.com as your fundraising platform, you will receive 100 percent of the donations that are collected without having to pay for credit card fees. You will also be able to get your page launched within mere minutes, and no technical knowledge is necessary.

Once the fundraiser is in place, make sure that you keep in regular weekly contact with your supporters via a wide variety of different communication methods, including Facebook, text messages and phone calls. By properly utilizing all of these methods, you can greatly increase the odds of having a fully funded campaign. Make sure that you also take advantage of the power of imagery to enhance your fundraising page.

Asking other people to help you with the fundraiser is the best way to be successful. Your supporters can easily share the link via Facebook or any other social networking page, and you can also ask local business and the media to assist you. By getting your cause discussed on the news, you will gain widespread attention that may even enable you to broaden the scope of who you can help with the money that is raised.

In the natural disaster cases it is very urgent to crowd fund as fast as possible. The immediate crowdfunding in such situations is equivalent to lifesaving chances for the people in trouble. This donation website is at your disposal  to help everyone in need.

Looking for additional fundraising tips check out these other links: How to Raise Funds When Natural DisasterHow to Raise Funds with Online CharityHow to Do Networking for Better FundraisingHow to Fundraise with CorporationsHow to Ask Businesses for Fundraising HelpHow to Fundraise Despite Economic Recession

Thanks again! From the DonationTo Team!!

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