The recent event of Hurricane Harvey making landfall is putting a large spotlight on natural disasters and more importantly how those not in the disaster zone can help. The continued fallout from the torrential flooding is making headlines everywhere, so how can you and your association help?
Use Your Network
Associations have email lists including members and vendors at their disposal. During natural disasters, these lists can become a great way for your association to get involved. Connecting people through communication is the first step in making a difference. The association can be the linking factor in connecting people and resources.
Empower Your Members
Once you connect with your members through your network, empower them. This could happen in a number of ways. If your association has laid the groundwork and connected with a local non-profit, let members know they can donate to a trusted source that will go straight to helping the affected area. If members want to help clean up an area post-disaster, the association can help link members to local organizations helping to organize that effort. The association can also reach out to members who may need help and take appropriate steps to assist them, whether it be sending supplies or connecting them with other members in the area.
Do No Harm
If your members are dealing with a crisis, be sure to evaluate your scheduled communications. If an email promoting annual conference goes out to members in the middle of a crisis, it can come across as insensitive. Change the focus of your communication efforts from conference promotion to disaster relief. This adds a human element to the association and takes the opportunity to help work towards a solution. Your association has the power to help, so the last thing you want to do is erode relationships during a trying time. Be sensitive with your communications efforts during a disaster.
Associations have the opportunity to make a difference during a crisis. When given the opportunity, take advantage of what your association has to offer. Use the resources you have at your disposal to help those in need.