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3 min read

Need Volunteers Following a Natural Disaster?

September 8, 2017

Mother nature just wreaked havoc on your community — now what?

In times of disaster, people are eager to help. They seek ways to feel helpful and resourceful. If it makes sense for your local organization to help communities affected following a natural disaster, here’s a checklist for finding the right volunteers. We can’t emphasize this enough: please use your best discretion to keep you — and those around you — safe from harm.

Tie Your Mission to Relief

If your nonprofit works on immigration reform, for example, a natural disaster probably isn’t the best time to offer assistance. If your nonprofit benefits animals, babies, or the homeless, however, you can find ways to help better your community while tying your relief efforts back in with your mission.

During floods following Hurricane Harvey in Houston, people throughout Texas’ Gulf Coast were in need of critical supplies to help them back on their feet. Organizations such as the Texas SPCA and Texas Diaper Bank ramped up efforts to support stranded pets across the state, and collect diaper donations for affected babies, respectively.

By tying relief efforts in with their mission, they were equipped to mobilize donations drives and provide relief by doing what they do best. If you can’t tie your mission in with relief, look for nonprofits you can partner with to support their post-disaster donations or fundraising initiatives.

Communicate Helpfulness

If you’re able and willing to, flex your helpful voice and spread sage advice for staying safe. If you’re tying relief in with your mission, create a communications plan for how you’ll distribute messaging to your supporters across mediums — including blog, email, and social.

Use your public platforms to share content from local and federal government agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and reliable publishers such as National Public Radio (NPR), the New York Times and the Washington Post. Remember, fact check your sources before sharing.

It’s never a good time to spread misinformation, let alone following a natural disaster.

Seek Qualified Volunteers

We created VolunteerMatch to help our community of governments, hospices, nonprofits, schools and other organizations find volunteers, both year-round and during times of disaster. If you’re looking for qualified disaster relief volunteers, or seeking volunteers to help with any of your post-disaster relief efforts, VolunteerMatch.org is a great place to start.

Each volunteer opportunity has the potential to reach our 13 million annual website visitors, professionals from LinkedIn’s Volunteer Marketplace, and companies such as Starbucks, Groupon and JetBlue. Plus, getting started is free and easy.

Tip: Remember to tag your volunteer opportunities with cause area and keywords (e.g., Hurricane Irma, earthquake relief, etc.). This will ensure it's seen by the highest number of interested volunteers.

Have other tips to add? Share it with our community in the comments section below.

Topics: disaster relief
Basil Sadiq

Written by Basil Sadiq

Basil helps nonprofits and volunteers engage better with one another by posting impactful tips and sharing stories on VolunteerMatch.org, Engaging Volunteers, GoodCauses Newsletter, and VolunteerMatch’s social media platforms.