Wise Giving Wednesday: Phases of Earthquake Relief

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By H. Art Taylor
President & CEO BBB Wise Giving Alliance
calendar icon Feb 15, 2023

The latest news reports are estimating over 40,000 deaths due to last week’s earthquake in Turkey and Syria. The size and scope of this disaster are      heart wrenching and difficult to comprehend. Search teams are continuing to look for survivors buried in the debris, although the chances of finding people still alive grow dim. Keep in mind, however, that as disasters go through several phases of activity, the urgent charitable needs continue, and there will be many opportunities to support charities seeking to help.

Rescue Phase – This phase of activity takes place immediately as trained search teams, medical workers and others carry out their life saving work. Media also quickly arrive on the scene and provide images of damaged homes, broken roads, and people in danger. This is the phase of activity that gets the most emotional response from potential donors. They are moved to do something to help and turn to charitable giving as a means to assist those in need.

Relief Phase - Most of the donation activity is directed to organizations involved with the relief phase which provides shelter, meals, clothing, blankets, water and other essentials for victims and their families. BBB Wise Giving Alliance recommends that contributors seek out charities that have experience in disaster relief activities and already have a presence in the impacted areas. That usually provides the quickest means to deliver aid to as many people as possible. Newly established organizations and/or charities with no disaster experience may have the best of intentions but will have significant challenges in being able to fulfill promises, particularly for the distribution of needed goods and supplies.

Recovery Phase – The last phase of disaster activity usually takes the longest to accomplish: the recovery phase. This involves community efforts to rebuild after the physical damage has been done. Charities and other organizations will be involved in helping families build homes, schools, houses of worship and repair roads. This phase can take considerable time and huge sums of money. Unfortunately, the fundraising for these operations usually takes place after the headlines have passed and the media cameras are gone. Donors can still be motivated to donate but will need to be reminded of the unfilled needs that must be addressed so a community can truly heal.

Click here, to access the previous Wise Giving Wednesday which includes a list of BBB Accredited Charities (i.e., meet the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability) that have announced on their respective websites that they are collecting funds to assist earthquake relief efforts.

Heart of Giving Podcast

For this week’s Heart of Giving Podcast, BBB WGA interviews Denver Frederick, a Certified Professional Executive Coach who works exclusively with leaders in the social sector. He is the host of The Business Giving podcast and the author of the book The Business of Giving, which provides guidance for nonprofits during turbulent social and economic times.

Recent Reports

We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:

Finally, remember to let us know by going to give.org/charity-inquiry if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.

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