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VolunteerMatch is the Webs largest volunteer engagement network, with more than 90,000 participating nonprofits, 160 network partners and 8.5 million visitors each year. Founded in 1998, VolunteerMatch offers solutions to make it easier for individuals, nonprofits and companies to make a difference. The award-winning nonprofit service supports some of Americas most recognized institutions including Charles Schwab, Allstate Insurance, General Mills, Easter Seals, the American Red Cross and Girl Scouts of the USA. Since its launch VolunteerMatch has helped nonprofits attract more than $2 billion worth of volunteer services. VolunteerMatch is a two-time Webby Award winner, a Smithsonian inductee, and has been recognized for its work byThe New York Times,Wall Street Journal, CNN,TIME, Oprah Winfrey and Presidents Clinton and Bush. To learn more, visitwww.volunteermatch.org.
How Companies and Their Employees Can Help with Hurricane Sandy
On Thursday and Friday governors and mayors were warning local residents in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic to get ready for Hurricane Sandy. On Saturday, those calls to action became louder: “This is a very serious storm. People will get hurt.”
By Sunday their message had changed again: “You need to hurry. Soon it will be too late.”
Today, with portions of many communities under siege from a dangerous super-storm, concerned folks from across the nation want to go volunteer and help out. Unfortunately it’s too late for those who want to respond now.
With the crisis at its peak, in most cases disaster response organizations like the American Red Cross are deploying the volunteers that they’ve been training for just this moment. Despite all your best intentions, you’d be worse than useless on the ground in Atlantic City or New York. You’d be in the way, making it harder for trained responders to do their job.
So what can you do if you want to help? There are two things:
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1. Donate to an organization like the American Red Cross that is working on the ground to save lives and provide food, clothes, and shelter to those who’ve been affected. Click here to support the American Red Cross.
2. Get training where you live so that if disaster strikes locally you can help. A good place to start is our Disaster Response & Preparedness Map, which tracks such opportunities in real time. Click here to volunteer to get disaster preparedness training.
What Can Companies Do?
If you’re located in an area that’s being hit by Hurricane Sandy, chances are your office is closed. If you’re out of the disaster zone, you’re still probably riveted to news streams recounting the impact of the storm on friends, family and fellow coworkers in other cities.
As an employer, there are a number of different things you can do to help your employees get involved in disaster response, and to integrate disaster relief and response into the fabric of your company’s CSR program.
Disaster relief and response should encompass more than a donation-matching program – true employee engagement means leveraging the skills and passions of your employees to provide help when it’s needed. Here are some tips from CSR expert Susan McPherson:
Social media has become a key tool for communicating and organizing during disasters - and for enabling your company and its employees to help out.
Finally, the most effective disaster response is executed in partnership with nonprofit organizations on the ground – and this type of partnership must be built and cultivated before a disaster is ever predicted.
Effective disaster relief begins with smart disaster preparedness. Use your money to help out now. Use your time to get the skills you need to help out in the future
What do you think? What are some other ways responsible businesses and your employees can help with responses to Hurricane Sandy and other disasters?