Everything You Need to Know About Volunteering with Disaster Relief Organizations

What are the advantages of collaborating with Disaster Response Organizations? First, having a Disaster Response Organization (DRO) partner can reduce your direct contributions to disaster relief efforts. It minimizes the gap between aid agencies and corporations, but it also helps you develop backroom infrastructure and processes to coordinate with disaster relief organizations. And it’s all done without having to spend a lot of money.

Work with disaster response organizations.

If you’d like to help those in need, consider volunteering with disaster response organizations. These disaster response companies assist by providing disaster relief, such as food and clean-up efforts. Volunteers can also lend their tools and heavy equipment to help local clean-up and repair efforts. Depending on your abilities, you can even offer to store and ship disaster relief supplies. You can also provide your building or power to disaster relief organizations to set up tech operations.

Some organizations train and equip local church members to be effective volunteers for national disasters. Disaster relief organizations may include disaster assessments, in-kind supplies, and fixed/mobile feeding facilities. Volunteers may also help organize the collection of donated goods. This list is not exhaustive. You can visit the organizations’ websites or call their offices to find out more for more information.

Reduce direct contributions between corporations and aid agencies

Several recent disasters have highlighted the need to reduce direct contributions between corporations and disaster response organizations. In 1999, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) published a study detailing the disparities in disaster relief funding. The study found that many of these contributions focused on the immediate response phase, ignoring other critical phases such as long-term recovery, risk reduction, and resilience. The focus on response was understandable, given the immediacy of images and the need for immediate services. However, the long-term reconstruction and recovery phases are often underfunded, and the public’s contributions are far less substantial.

Develop backroom infrastructure and processes

It is increasingly difficult for aid agencies to meet the global community’s needs in times of large-scale disasters. These agencies are burdened with a lack of resources to dedicate to both front-line assistance and back-room infrastructure. Often, they use multiple, incompatible information systems and struggle to create organization-wide metrics. In addition, they lack defined career paths, professional associations, and communities of practice.

Conduct drills and exercises

Several benefits are associated with conducting drills and exercises with disaster response organizations. These tests serve to validate plans, confirm roles, and identify resource gaps. These exercises also serve as a way to re-emphasize roles and procedures. However, these tests should be conducted with adequate planning and participation from all personnel involved.

Full-scale drills involve multiple response elements, including universities, public safety agencies, and teams or departments. These tests provide the best opportunities for creating muscle memory. Participants can recall specific memories of the drill and apply the lessons learned to real-life situations. Further, full-scale drills allow for greater coordination among emergency response organizations. However, the best method for disaster response organizations to conduct drills is by engaging multiple stakeholders.

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