The modern economy runs on money. Supplies and services both have their costs and are rarely provided free of charge. Even non-profit organizations, which are supposed to have little to do with the concepts of money, profit, and revenue, are expected to know and implement the basics of financial management and accountability. Any modern non-profit organization, no matter how big or small, must have its own sources of income. The primary method of gathering aid is through fundraising campaigns.
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On 16 April 2016, the world awakened to a tragedy that occurred in Ecuador. A massive earthquake with a moment magnitude of 7.8 struck and devastated several regions in the country. Entire districts of several cities were leveled to the ground. The natural disaster left a trail of destruction in its wake, with over 670 people dead and 27500 – injured (Vervaeck, 2016). Homes and businesses were destroyed; gas and electricity supply systems took serious damage and became largely inoperable. Many people became displaced. Water supply became very limited due to the destruction of the pipelines. Many humanitarian organizations, such as the Ecuador Red Cross, UNICEF, International Medical Corps, and AmeriCares came to the country to provide aid in supplies, food, shelters, medical kits, and other essentials (Chillag, 2016).
This event demonstrates the importance of emergency fundraising for non-profit organizations dedicated to dealing with the aftermath of major natural cataclysms. Such emergencies are very demanding on resources. During the crisis in Ecuador, the Red Cross dispatched over 800 volunteers to assist in the rescue efforts (Ecuador, 2008). Money is required to purchase and supply food rations, tents, blankets, emergency kits, medical equipment. The volunteers working on the site also need to be fed and supplied, as the restoration efforts often take more than several months. Non-profit organizations are supposed to have an emergency fundraising plan to cover the expenses.
Normally, numerous organizations start vying for donor attention as soon as the disaster strikes. Having a pre-approval for fundraising actions and expenses can save a lot of time. Time could mean the difference between life and death. Media coverage plays a very important role – many potential donors could be reached through mass e-mail campaigns and social media. The organization has to be prepared for fundraising expenses. Having an emergency alert e-mail template would speed up the reaction times to disasters since it would save time on making one later (Segedin, 2016). Medical organizations should have contacts established with medical supplies providers in case the reserves start running dry.
Non-profit organizations that deal with emergencies need to have extremely efficient financial management. Since money is often in short supply and additional resources gathered through fundraising campaigns are very fluctuating, it is necessary to have an adaptable spending plan in the event of a natural disaster. Possessing several banking accounts is required since it is where the donations are going to be sent. Keeping lists of donors would help raise the necessary funds much quicker since a person who had donated at least once is more likely to do so again. Donations should not be limited to money alone. Many are willing to give away clothes, food, and other supplies to assist the suffering regions. In that case, the organization should have a logistical plan to be able to collect and deliver the goods.
However, an emergency relief organization must not rely on individual donors alone. Major companies and the government are often more than willing to pitch in large sums of money to assist a relief effort. It does not matter whether they do it for humanitarian reasons or to improve their own public image. What is important is that they can provide a good share of finances and resources, which is often enough to pay for the relief effort. It would be a good idea to establish some working contacts with the representatives of all major businesses and request their aid in times of need. For example, during the disastrous earthquake in Ecuador, the Chinese construction businesses have provided aid in both finances, resources, mechanisms, and specialists to help in the relief effort (Chinese Companies, 2016).
Any kind of disaster relief effort is a costly affair for the non-profit organizations involved. This supports the idea that such organizations are in need of professional financial management and spending strategies, perhaps even more so than profitable organizations. When a disaster strikes, the resources are always limited, and peoples’ lives could depend on how they are spent.
Chillag, A. (2016). Ecuador Earthquake: How you can Help. CNN. Web.
Chinese Companies help in Disaster Relief after Ecuador Earthquake. (2016). Web.
Segedin, A. (2016). Perfect Often Enemy of Good in Fundraising. The NonProfit Times. Web.
Vervaeck, A. (2016). Deadly earthquake on the Northern coast of Ecuador – at least 655 people killed. Web.