Fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, and floods can happen at any time … sometimes, they happen all at once.
When it’s close to home, it can be easier to see the need in front of you, but what about when it’s somewhere else and impacts clients, vendors or even your staff’s family members? When your business feels compelled to help, it’s sometimes hard to identify how to even get started. Here are a few ideas on you can come together as a company and respond in times of need.
Check-In With Your Team
In your next meeting, ask your team how they are doing. This is a simple gesture to honor the fact that we are all humans and not machines, and gives people a moment to connect deeper with one another, while also giving the management team insights into what is on people’s minds. It can also be helpful to ask your employees how they want to respond to get a sense of what they think is important and then make a collective decision. It’s also a great opportunity to collaborate with your HR team to offer support staff members, gather information and keep everyone informed.
Check-in With Your Community
Reach out to your vendors, partners and neighbors in your community. It’s a great opportunity to collaborate with other organizations who might be able to expand your company’s impact with their ideas, services, products and more.
Respond in the Best Way You Can
There is no “right” way to respond. People will do their best in the circumstances they are faced with, and that’s enough. Questions to consider are:
- Do we make a product or provide a service that would be of use to donate?
- Do we own or have supplies that might benefit people?
- Can we make a donation to an organizations doing good work or purchase needed supplies for people?
- Are we able to respond now?
For example, if you have a customer or clients that operates a fleet of delivery trucks, could they be offered to shuttle people or products if the circumstances are safe? Or, maybe you have an office space and can be offered to first responders as a base for operations.
If you can give financially, it’s great to support a local charity or shelter by making a donation. Don’t forget about the pet rescue organizations such as the ASPCA and environmental groups that will eventually replace what is lost.
Cash can also buy needed supplies and drop it off at a shelter. For example, people often need basic supplies: toothbrushes, face wash, contact cases and solution, underwear, and women’s products. Little things aren’t always available for purchase in the days or even weeks after something occurs.
Sponsor a meal delivery through a local restaurant to a shelter. You can find opportunities by keeping an eye on the news and social media to see the vendors in your area.
There is Always the Option to Wait
After a natural disaster, there is a lot put into motion in a short amount of time, but the affects of these experiences expand out for months, even years. There is still time to help after immediate relief organizations have finished their work.
For example, if your business does volunteer work, you could rebuild a home with Habitat for Humanity, plant new trees and gardens in public spaces, or help reunite families with their pets. You can also make in impact by offering jobs to those displaced from work. That would be such a powerful way to put people back on their feet while other businesses are rebuilding.