Crowdfunding has recently emerged as an effective tool for cause-related marketing, particularly in the context of disaster recovery. This makes sense, and indeed seems natural, as crowdfunding offers the opportunity to tell personal stories, reach out to potential donors on social media, and provides a simple and effective way for people to donate directly to a cause: increasing transparency and the emotional connection between fundraiser and donor.
It’s these specific benefits that make crowdfunding and disaster relief such a natural fit. From the 2015 Nepal earthquake to Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, FundRazr has helped nonprofits and individuals raise money for disaster relief, enabling them to reach greater audiences than they would be able to otherwise.
Concerns with the Traditional Disaster Relief
Crowdfunding often provides financial support in areas where those affected by disasters and accidents may not have access to resources for relief. For example, in the US, if a community does not receive a presidential disaster declaration, it falls upon local governments and state counterparts to provide the funds and labor necessary for repairing and rebuilding. Unfortunately, with a lack of resource this means it can take a long time to get these efforts underway and residents pack up and move on.
Even with federal funding, the local government is still responsible for 25% of the costs, as required by many of these programs. The result of this situation, whether they receive federal funding or not, is an extension of debt on the community, economic downfall, and a long, slow, and often arduous recovery process.
Individuals don’t find themselves in a much better situation. If an individual lives in an area struck by disaster, they face the same challenges as the community at large. If a presidential disaster declaration occurs, there will be significantly more resources available to them: Funding for the uninsured, buyout options for damaged property, and low-interest rate loans will be available. However, if a presidential disaster declaration doesn’t happen, individuals are reliant on the local community, state government, and nonprofit organizations for recovery assistance.
Opportunities for Crowdfunding to Support the System
The result of the current system is obvious: increased debt within the community and a lack of spending in the local economy. By using crowdfunding campaigns, some of the pressure can be lifted from families and communities in the disaster recovery process, and economic stalling can be avoided.
When raising money for disaster relief, fundraisers must have specific goals and timelines, be very transparent, and have a specific intention for the funds donated. Is there a school that needs rebuilding? Or a family that needs help? Outline where the money will go so donors know exactly how they’re helping – this way you’ll raise more money, and the money you raise will be far more effective in supporting the disaster relief.
For those looking to donate to disaster relief, visit our support page for accidents and disasters and always be mindful with your contributions.