Nepal Earthquake Roundup: Emergency Fundraising Attention Cycle | Beth's Blog

Nepal Earthquake Roundup: Emergency Fundraising Attention Cycle


Image Source: ntegrity

PLEASE MAKE A RECURRING GIFT:   I’ve donated to the GlobalGiving Earthquake Fund – the money will go to a vetted network of NGOS – and they have a donor who is matching all recurring gifts.  Even if you made a donation, consider making a recurring gift which will be matched and assure that funding will be there when most needed.   You can donate here.   I also donated to Save the Children and if you are an Orbitz customer they are matching donations.

According to the Guardian, the 7.8-magnitude quake killed more than 5,000 people, with many thousands more impacted.  The survivors are in desperate need of food and water.  It heart breaking to read and see photos of the human crisis in Katmandu (and historic national landmarks in rubble) and on Everest, but even more to read accounts of the great challenges facing aid workers to reach the rural areas.     As the need for donations continues, the public attention starts to wane, so does donor interest.   Let’s continue to pay attention and support this effort.

The above graphic comes from a post from ntegrity called “The Challenge of Nonprofits Responding to Nepal” that describes the donor attention cycle when it comes to emergency fundraising.    The articles discusses how larger nonprofits are often effective in their programs and fundraising, but they’re also bureaucracies (or what Allison and I called fortresses) that operate on levels of approval cycles rather than a fast start up approach.   That latter would have the organization move fast, rather than waiting for perfection and constantly create/refine.

I shared this article on Facebook and it sparked an interesting discussion.   Colleague Brian Reich said he would like to see a networked approach to the disaster relief , “A few respond quickly and raise funds, others use the awareness that comes from a disaster to educate, over time you have others who focus on keeping people connected as new issues arrive. All share intel and data, instead of competing and cannibalizing. Then, instead of everyone trying to capitalize on the moments after a tragedy and exhausting donors, we get some nice alignment and focus and both the cause and the audience end up benefiting more over time.”

Robert Rosenthal, who has lived in Katmandu over the past year, said that large networks like the one that Global Giving is supporting do this level of coordination on  a smaller basis, working with local grantees on the ground to create projects and direct funds while collaborating with communication teams to keep the story alive.  Robert points out that keeping donors engaged throughout the cycle to be champions and further commit is critical.  Says Robert, “The challenge for local NGOs in disaster zones face is massively increased immediate needs to serve, they also must re-address and deal with programs that were started previous to the disaster.”

Nancy Schwartz has an fantastic blog post offering expert advice on how nonprofits should communicate during a crisis, using the situation in Baltimore and the Nepal Earthquake as hooks to offer some recommendations.

Colleague Jen Bokoff from the Foundation Center sent me an email letting me know about their partnership Center for Disaster Philanthropy to lift up the ways in which donors can be more effective in their giving to disasters after seeing the above graphic that I shared on Facebook.   “CDP has a number of resources on this front as well, emphasizing the importance of investing in the full “life cycle” of disasters, including preparedness, recovery, and resilience efforts. In fact, we partnered with CDP last year on our first-ever baseline data on disaster giving. Some of the key “big picture” points related to effective giving are captured on pp.49-51 (What Does Success Look Like?).”

Meanwhile, colleague Wendy Harmon from the American Red Cross is now on the ground in Geneva to help the social media team with Nepal Earthquake efforts.   I’ll be keeping an eye on her tweets and the #smem hashtag for updates.

4 Responses

  1. Terri Harel says:

    Hi Beth,

    I think this is a great reminder that the effects of disaster linger so far beyond the media’s short attention span (another example – Haiti!). Thanks for the resources and articles to learn more about long-term response.



  2. Michelle says:

    Yes, yes and yes. Having worked for disaster-response organizations for much of my career I’ve seen the headlines fade and survivors struggle over and over again. I really appreciate the “Watch, Learn Act” approach suggested by CDP. I also put together some guidelines for giving after a disaster:

  3. Vaibhav says:

    it has been devastating for so many. however what the nepal media is doing right now is not good.

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