The level of destruction by Hurricane Harvey has been biblical. Like me, you have been following what’s been happening in Houston and the surrounding areas this past week. Residents have been pounded with rain, winds, tornadoes, and flooding. Now Hurricane Irma is on its way.
As we watch the rescue efforts, we are all looking for ways to do our part. Perhaps you are thinking of:
Praying a novena
Travelling to Houston to help
Sending food and water
Connecting with locals in your area to organize a relief response
Donating money to a charity
Raising funds to support people you know
Today, we see the aftermath and look to rebuild. Many people have taken to social media and the internet to raise money.
While fundraising can help, I have learned how to raise money a much more effective way. Here are five strategies that I am currently using.
1. Focus on long-term fundraising.
While it’s good to ask for donations, organize your fundraising so you can ask today and in a few months. Check out this article for more details.
2. Ask for contact details as well as donations.
While you will get a surge of donations today, this response will wane quite quickly. Get people to stay informed on what’s happening by asking for the email, allowing you to ask for donations later on. Read this article to learn the benefits of asking for contact details.
3. Tell your story.
People are inspired to give when you share with them how things are moving forward. Keep people updated on how you are are rebuilding after the disaster. This motivates people to give. Read more about this topic here.
4. Don’t just ask for money.
Only a fraction of people will be able to donate. However, they can do other things, like provide resources and volunteer. Also, they may be able to donate later on. So make sure to get people involved in other ways. Check out this article on how to do this.
5. Thank people.
Make sure to thank people for their contributions. While the focus is helping people, it’s important to remember that relationships and community are as important as money. Take the time to thank people as intimately as possible (not just via a social media post). Read more about thanking people in this article.
Conclusion – Fundraising in the aftermath of a disaster
When it comes to fundraising after a disaster, we need to remember it’s not just about raising as many funds as possible. Suffice it to say, getting Houston back to normal will take time. Therefore, looking at fundraising in the long-term is more effective than just a short-burst of asking for money.
Focus on building relationships with the people God is placing in your life. This is the good that comes from these terrible events. As a result, you will build a network of friends, volunteers, and donors that will help you in the coming months and years.